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The Christian Counter


Who Are the Seven Heads?


“And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads… and on each head [was written] a blasphemous name.” (Revelation 13:1, insertion mine) The seven heads are religious in nature, because each head has a “blasphemous” name written on it. The presence of a blasphemous name means that each head is defiantly opposed to God’s will (which is blasphemy). Of course, the seven heads are currently unaware of their blasphemy because each religious system believes that it is in perfect conformity with God’s will and truth. During the Great Tribulation, the Two Witnesses will empower the 144,000 to speak for God, and once the gospel of Jesus is presented, man’s ignorance, arrogance, and blasphemy will be revealed. As we investigate the identify of the seven heads, it is important to keep in mind there are seven of the same thing. Whatever one head represents, the other six must also represent. So, who are the seven heads? Look at three specifications:


Specification 1   Each head has a blasphemous name written on it (Revelation 13:1)


Specification 2   One head seemed to have received a fatal wound, but the fatal wound 

                            had been healed (Revelation 13:3)


Specification 3   The seven heads are seven hills (or mountains) on which the woman

                             sits. (Revelation 17:9)




The only religious system on Earth that can meet the wounded/healed head specification is the Roman Catholic Church. Daniel 7 indicates that the power of the little horn power (the papacy) would be terminated at the end of 1,260 years (1798). Daniel 7:11 reveals that the little horn would once speak boastfully against the Most High God after “the court was seated and the books were opened.” In Daniel 8, we learned that the court was seated and the books were opened in 1844. Following the logic of these three texts, we can understand that the wounded/healed head will speak boastfully against God during the Great Tribulation because the deadly wound will be healed early in the Great Tribulation.


Even though the papacy is only one of the seven heads on the leopard-like beast, it will prove to be the leader of the remaining six heads until the fifth trumpet occurs. Led by the papacy and speaking in unison for all religious systems, the seven heads on the leopard-like beast will speak boastfully against Jesus Christ and His authority. “The [leopard-like] beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months.” (Revelation 13:5, insertion mine)


To facilitate this study on the seven heads, we will proceed under the assumption that the wounded/healed head is the Roman Catholic Church and that the other six heads are also religious systems. One you have reviewed all of the specifications for the seven heads, I believe you will find that this conclusion leaves no wiggle room.

The Seven Hills


A church may grow in membership until the physical plant is inadequate for worship services. When this happens, a search committee is usually created and empowered to find a piece of property where a larger facility can be built. Today, it is the building that makes the church property holy ground. In ancient times, it was the other way around. Holy ground made the building or temple holy. If holy ground was not close, the ancients worshiped on mountaintops – where it was believed that deity lived or descended. Notice this sampling of Bible texts (there are more than sixty references on the topic in the Bible, but these few should suffice):


Just before he died, Moses prophesied the Lord would select a special place for His temple after Israel entered the Promised Land. Moses said: [After you enter the land which the Lord has given you,] The to the place the Lord will choose as a dwelling for His Name – there you are to bring everything I command you: your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your titles and special gifts, and all of the choice possessions you have vowed to the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 12:11, italics and insertion mine)


About 470 years after Moses died, the Lord chose a specific place for His temple: “Then the angel of the Lord ordered [the prophet] Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” (1 Chronicles 21:18, italics and insertion mine)


About ten years later, “Then Solomon began to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David.”

(1 Chronicles 3:1, italics mine) Consider three points. First, God deliberately placed the temple on the threshing floor of Araunah. (This is the spot where God directed Abraham to offer Isaac. Genesis 22:2) Second, God deliberately chose to put His temple on a mountaintop (Mount Moriah). Third, after God abandoned Israel and destroyed His temple and the city of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, He eventually put a seal on Mount Moriah to keep Israel from rebuilding the temple. This seal is a mosque called the Dome of the Rock.


Before Solomon built the temple, Israel has been worshiping false gods on various mountain tops (also called “high places”) Even King Solomon offered sacrifices and incense at these places: “The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places, because a temple had not yet been built for the Name of the Lord. Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the statutes of his father Davis, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.” (1 Kings 3:2,3 italics mine)  After Solomon died, the apostasy of Israel matured into open rebellion against God. Notice what the Lord says of His rebellious people: Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord…. They also set up for themselves high places. Sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.” (1 Kings 14:22-24, italics mine)


These references explain how seven heads can be called seven hills or seven mountains. The Greek word oros means “hills” or “mountains.” Some translators translate oros to mean “hills” and others use the same word to mean “mountains.” In ancient times, any mountain or “high hill” was regarded as a holy place. The lofty pinnacle of any mountain was regarded as a dwelling place for deity. The seven heads are called seven mountains because each religious system worships on a different mountaintop. Each religious system worships a different God. You may recall from our study on the seven trumpets, that Babylon will use the enabling lie that everyone worships the same God, even though He is called by different names. The Bible says otherwise. There is one true God and many false gods. The seven religious systems of the world do not “look up” to the same God – they worship seven different false gods on seven different mountains! This truth will become clear once the 144,000 begin their work.


Consider the devil’s sophistry for a moment. Jesus descended to Mount Sinai to give the law to Moses. (Exodus 19:18) The devil saw the awesome power of Christ displayed that day and being the devil he is, he decided to counterfeit the idea. The devil led ignorant pagans to believe that various gods descend from mountaintops. Therefore, to meet and worship their gods, they dutifully climbed rugged mountains. (I’m sure the devil was amused at making worship such a chore.) Poor ignorant people undertook a horrible hike to appease gods of wood and stone with sacrifices (even human sacrifices) so they would be protected from harm.


False religion is confined to darkness. It is based on fear and superstition, and the devil preys on man’s ignorance of God to distort man’s beliefs about God. When seen in reverse, apostasy is easy to understand, but it is hard to detect in the present because error never stops inching into all religions. Therefore, religion constantly mutates. For example, Israel went from the Mount Sinai experience to complete apostasy on the mountaintops around Jerusalem. The Lord said, “The people of Judah have done evil in my eyes, declares the Lord. They have set up their detestable idols in the house that bears my Name and have defiled it. They have built the high places of Topheth in the valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire – something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind.” (Jeremiah 7:30,31, italics mine)


Take a moment and consider God’s fiery manifestations on the mountains of Sinai, Carmel, and Moriah. When Jesus descended on Mount Sinai to speak the Ten Commandments, the whole mountain was set on fire! (Exodus 19:18) When Elijah prayed on Mount Carmel, fire came down and consumed the altar! (1 Kings 18:38) Fire came down from Heaven and consumed Solomon’s offerings when the temple on Mount Moriah was dedicated. (2 Chronicles 7:1) Given these supernatural examples, it is easy to see why false religions came to believe in “holy mountains” as the dwelling place of gods. The symbolism in Revelation 17:9 is direct and forceful. The seven heads are seven mountains. The seven heads are seven religious systems, each having its own mountain and its own god. Moreover, when people look at a mountain, they always look up to see its peek. Similarly, a religious system is an organization where people look up to their leaders for information about God. David wrote, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills [mountains], from whence cometh my help [from my God].” (Psalm 121:1, KJV, insertions mine) The true God in Heaven no longer dwells on Mount Moriah. He lives in Heaven, on Mount Zion! (Revelation 14:1)


One last point. Citizens of the United States could easily grasp the concept of describing seven religious systems as seven hills because the principle building in Washington D.C. is called Capitol Hill. United states citizens look up to Capitol Hill as the source of their laws – just like the Jews looked up to Mount Sinai as the source for theirs.


Specification 4   The seven heads are also seven kings. (Revelation 17:10)


A King has subjects and a religious system has subjects. Those who submit to the tenants of a particular religion become subjects to its teachings, laws and regulations. This explains how seven mountains and seven heads on the beast can also be seven kings. The seven religious systems of the world have authority over their subjects. If you do not believe this statement is true, consider this: No member can defy church doctrine without being punished for it. When a person is no longer willing to submit to the tenets of his religion, he will be eliminated from the religious body for heresy. In some countries, elimination means death. In other countries, it means excommunication or expulsion. All seven religious systems are kings. They condemn those who defy their authority and teachings.


Specification 5   They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he will remain for a little while.”

(Revelation 17:10)


This specification is very important because the timing of this statement forces the identity of the seven heads to be seven religious systems. Using a past perfect tense, the angel said, “Five [heads] have fallen” to indicate action completed in the past. To determine when the five heads fell, we have to determine the setting for this conversation. 


John received this vision while he was on the isle of Patmos (Revelation 1:9,10). Most scholars agree that John was on Patmos between A.D. 95-98. If we put this angel’s statement within the context of this conversation, his words will perfectly align with everything John wrote thus far about the seven heads. In other words, five of the seven heads had fallen prior to A.D. 95.


According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word “fallen” is not limited to “destroyed or collapsed.” In a larger sense, “fallen” can mean, “brought down” or “demonstrated to be false or corrupt.” If I said, “Jimmy Bakker, former president of the PTL Club, is a fallen evangelist,” anyone remembering the history of Jimmy Bakker would understand this use of the word “fallen.” Bakker was a popular TV evangelist who was caught up in a sex and money scandal. He was publicly humiliated and disgraced when the corruption leaked out to the public. (Bakker was granted parole from prison in July 1994, after serving almost five years of his original forty-five year sentence.) Webster states that the word “fallen” can mean, “proven false.” In fact, when the 144,000 gives the second angel’s message, Babylon will not be weak, destroyed, or collapsed. The leopard-like beast will be extremely powerful, but it will be corrupt and blasphemous. “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries. (Revelation 14:8)


If we put the angel’s words within the context of A.D. 95, a simple explanation unfolds. When God became flesh and dwelt among men, five religious systems were exposed as false. Think about this: In a world of diverse, but religious equals, who else but God can declare a religious system false? Five of the seven heads were proven false before A.D. 95, and they are the following:


A.   Heathenism is a religious system that operates in darkness. It does not worship the true God of Heaven. It does not know or have the Word of God. This religious system is huge and diverse, and it is often cruel and hopeless. Nevertheless, man’s ignorance does not lessen God’s love for human beings living in darkness. Because mankind is inherently rebellious and religious, their religious system creates gods to address its fear, fantasies, and superstitions. The birth and ministry of Jesus proves this religious system is false. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way [to eternal life] and the truth {I am telling you the truth about God] and the life [I am showing you how God wants you to live.]. No one comes to the Father except through me [through my atoning sacrifice].’”

(John 14:6, insertions mine)


Note: It is important to remember that God deals with people corporately and individually. Religious systems are on thing and the members within that system are another. Even though all seven religious systems are false and blasphemous, there are millions of honest-hearted individuals within the seven religious systems of the world. Millions of dead heathen – those who lived down through the ages – will be given eternal life on resurrection morning because they stood for everything they knew to be right and true, and they submitted to the impressions of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 2:14) These people will be the beneficiaries of Christ’s atoning sacrifice even though they never had the opportunity to hear about Jesus. (Zechariah 13:6) To demonstrate that their salvation is warranted, millions of heathen will hear the 144,000 during the Great Tribulation and they will embrace the gospel and be saved. The response of the living proves that an honest-hearted person – regardless of their religious background – can be trusted with eternal life. Jesus paid the price for every honest-hearted sinner. He will grant eternal life to billions of dead Heathens, Atheists, Eastern Mystics, Catholics, Protestants, Moslems, and Jews who live in harmony with God’s law (as far as they understand it) and according to the Spirit (as far as they understood Him). God is unbelievably generous! Amen!


B.   Atheism is a religious system that denies the existence of God. This belief system was proven false the day Jesus was born. King David wrote, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They [the fools] are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” (Psalm 14:1,2, insertion mine) Jesus said He came from God, so who should we believe? “Jesus said to them [the Jews], ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.’” (John 8:42, insertion mine)


C.   Judaism is a religious system that denies that Jesus is God. Judaism believes that salvation comes through obedience. Jesus proved this religious system false when He said, “I tell you the truth, he who believes [in me] has eternal life.” (John 6:47, insertion mine)


D.   Eastern Mysticism is a religious system that worships many false gods. Eastern Mysticism believes that self can save self by overcoming cycles of life and death. Eastern Mysticism does not know or worship Jesus. Jesus proved this system false in the same way He rebuked the Jews for putting traditions above the Word of God saying, “Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” (Mark 7:13)


E.   Islam is a religious system that rejects the divinity of Jesus. Islam does not accept the premise that mankind needs a sinless Savior. Jesus proved this religious system false when He said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18)


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