7 ¶ And the angel said unto me, 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. 8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. 9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
The beast that ascends from the bottomless pit carries the woman. The woman, Mystery Babylon, rides on the beast so he supports her. They that dwell on the earth who are not God’s people shall wonder as they behold the beast. A wonder is a sign in Deuteronomy 13:1,2; 28:46; & Isaiah 20:3 and it is an amazing thing, something to consider, in Revelation 12. The beast that was, and is not, and yet is, is an ancient evil that appears in a modern form. He represents a system that has its roots as far back as Satan in Eden in the guise of a serpent or dragon questioning God’s word, as old as Sodom and Gomorrah in their wickedness, and as violent and forceful as Assyria. He was something, is not the same as that something, and yet He is. We see things in today’s world, wrapped in technology and ease of living, pretty paper and ribbon so to speak, but they are something no different in essence from what was long ago.
Mankind’s rebellion against God, fueled by Satan’s rage and pride, and both of our desires to be God, takes form that looks modern and new in a world that looks different but is the same old serpent that lay coiled around men’s hearts, figuratively speaking, six thousand years ago. You can see it in the Vatican in Rome, in Canterbury, in Nashville, in Mecca, and any fundamentalist church or mosque just as you can see it in Washington DC, London, Riyadh, and Teheran. The tendrils of smoke of the sacrifices to Satan, the god of this world in 2Corinthians 4:4, made by world leaders and clerics swirl around the capitals of the world’s political and religious powers.
This scarlet, red, crimson colored beast from verse 3 is the fulfillment of thousands of years of the history of evil. The conquerors like Alexander, Julius Caesar, and Genghis Khan were types of him. The founders of false religious empires and systems like Constantine, Mohammed, and Henry VIIIth of England were types of him. They led millions to their deaths, sometimes in a wrong belief that to obey them to the death was to obey the God of heaven. World War One is a classic example of kings, most of them from the same family, sending millions to an untimely death in a false veneration and worship, going off to die for ‘king and country,’ for a ‘glorious cause,’ and all thinking that God Himself was on their own side. Of course, the prime ministers who actually started the wars knew better and the wicked financiers who funded the wars knew better but the beast reared his ugly head nonetheless and was clearly visible although unseen by most.
And here the seven heads we’ve seen referred to several times are seven mountains on which the woman sits.