What does Revelation 17:11 really mean?

Revelation 17:11 is about the ultimate downfall of a powerful and blasphemous entity that will eventually meet its destruction and demise.

11 As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction.


Setting the Scene for Revelation 17:11

In Revelation chapter 17, the scene is set in a vision where the apostle John is being shown the judgment of the great prostitute by one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls. John finds himself in a vast wilderness, surrounded by desolation and darkness. The air is heavy with an ominous feeling as he witnesses the great prostitute sitting on a scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns.

As John looks on, he sees the woman adorned in luxurious clothing and jewelry, holding a golden cup full of abominations and impurities. The woman’s name is written on her forehead, “Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and of the Abominations of the Earth.” The beast she rides represents the kingdoms of the world that have aligned themselves with her in wickedness and idolatry.

In this vision, John is not alone. He is accompanied by the angel who is revealing these events to him, guiding him through the symbolism and significance of what he is witnessing. The gravity of the scene is palpable as John takes in the sight before him, understanding the depth of the spiritual warfare and deception at play in the world.

What is Revelation 17:11 about?

The verse in Revelation 17:11 describes a mysterious beast with a complex and ominous nature. The phrase “was, is not, and will come” suggests a pattern of existence that is both cyclical and foreboding. This enigmatic depiction can be seen as symbolic of a powerful figure or ruler who has had a presence in the past, disappeared for a time, and is destined to reemerge in the future with immense authority and influence.

Imagine the intrigue and suspense surrounding the appearance of such a being – someone who once wielded great power, then vanished from the scene, only to resurface when least expected. What kind of impact might this individual have on the world stage? What agenda or intentions might they bring with them upon their return? The imagery in this verse creates a sense of anticipation and uncertainty, prompting us to ponder the implications of the beast’s reappearance and the consequences it may hold for humanity. As we delve into the symbolism and deeper meanings of this verse, let’s consider the themes of power, manipulation, and the cyclical nature of history. What lessons can we draw from this portrayal of a seemingly supernatural figure who transcends time and space? How does this imagery challenge us to reflect on the dynamics of leadership, authority, and the potential for both salvation and destruction? We contemplate the significance of this verse as we grapple with its implications for our understanding of prophecy and the unfolding of divine mysteries.

Understanding what Revelation 17:11 really means

Revelation 17:11, nestled within the intricate tapestry of the visions granted to the Apostle John, delves into the enigmatic realm of apocalyptic symbolism. Here, we encounter a cryptic description of a beast that “was, and is not, and yet is,” hinting at a profound cyclical pattern of emergence, disappearance, and resurgence. This cyclical nature echoes throughout related biblical passages, such as Daniel 7:7-8, which unveils a beast with ten horns, laying a prophetic foundation for understanding the entities depicted in Revelation.

In Revelation 13:1-3, we witness another portrayal of a beast rising from the sea, adorned with ten horns and seven heads, emphasizing the recurring theme of malevolent powers resurfacing across historical epochs. The parallel drawn in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, depicting the “man of lawlessness” who exalts himself, mirrors the blasphemous essence attributed to the beast in Revelation, underscoring the enduring nature of evil’s manifestations.

The relevance of Revelation 17:11 extends beyond its apocalyptic setting, resonating with contemporary audiences grappling with the ebb and flow of corruption and malevolence in society. The cyclical motif embodied by the beast serves as a poignant metaphor for the perennial presence of evil forces in human history, cautioning against complacency in the face of moral decay and oppressive regimes.

To elucidate this concept further, envision a community liberated from the shackles of a tyrannical regime through collective action and fortitude. Despite their initial triumph over injustice, the insidious tendrils of corruption gradually resurface through new leadership, illustrating the cyclical nature of evil and the imperative of unwavering vigilance and ethical rectitude.

The evocative phrase “the beast that was, and is not, and yet is” encapsulates the transient yet enduring essence of evil, delineating its past, apparent absence, and inevitable resurgence. Each component – “was,” “is not,” and “yet is” – unveils a distinct facet of evil’s cyclical trajectory, cautioning against the illusion of its permanent defeat. Similarly, the enigmatic proclamation that the beast is both the eighth and of the seven underscores the interconnectedness and continuity of malevolent influences throughout history.

In conclusion, Revelation 17:11 beckons us to contemplate the cyclical nature of evil and the imperative of unwavering vigilance in combating its insidious manifestations. By internalizing the lessons embedded within this cryptic verse, we equip ourselves to confront and transcend the recurrent challenges posed by malevolence, fostering a steadfast commitment to righteousness and moral integrity in a world fraught with perennial struggles.

How can we discern the true source of spiritual power?

The true source of spiritual power can be discerned through the careful examination of the fruits it produces. True spiritual power is always accompanied by righteousness, peace, love, and the manifestation of God’s will. It is revealed through humility, compassion, and a genuine desire to serve others selflessly. False spiritual power leads to corruption, deceit, manipulation, and the glorification of self in contrast.

Additionally, the source of spiritual power can be discerned by aligning it with the teachings of scripture and the character of God. God is the ultimate source of all spiritual power, and anything contrary to His nature and principles should be viewed with caution. We can distinguish between authentic manifestations of spiritual power and counterfeit ones by comparing them to the Word of God. True spiritual power always points back to God and His glory, while false power seeks to exalt itself and draw attention away from the truth.


In the battlefield of faith, we face spiritual adversaries seeking to weaken our resolve. It is our duty to remain steadfast, armored with faith and unwavering courage. Let’s unite in prayer and unwavering belief, ready to confront the forces of darkness with the light of truth. Will you embrace this call to arms and join the battle, knowing that with faith, victory is within our grasp?