beast [therion] that [hos] thou sawest [eido] was, [en] and [kai] is [esti] not; [ou] and [kai] shall [mello] ascend [anabaino] out of [ek] the bottomless pit, [abussos] and [kai] go [hupago] into [eis] perdition: [apoleia] and [kai] they that dwell [katoikeo] on [epi] the earth [ge] shall wonder, [thaumazo]
whose [hos] names [onoma] were [grapho] not [ou] written [grapho] in [epi] the book [biblion] of life [zoe] from [apo] the foundation [katabole] of the world, [kosmos] when
they behold [blepo] the beast [therion] that was [hostis], [en] and [kai] is [esti] not, [ou] and yet [kaiper] is. [esti] KJV-Interlinear
beast that you saw was and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and
to go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth will wonder, whose name
has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when
they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. NASB
If you ignore the context of the chapter, then you will have a difficult time understanding this verse. Remember the parties mentioned thus far. There is the beast, the woman, and Babylon.
They are all interconnected as the foundation of the overall plan of Satan. His true purpose described in the Old Testament, was to be like the 'Most High.' When Jesus arrived on the scene in the First Advent, Satan offered Jesus everything in the world if He, Jesus, would fall down and worship him, Satan.
Satan is really the insane ego driven villain here, but unlike humans, He does not have the illness of insanity that typifies human insanity. Yet mad he is, while still maintaining his intellect and poise (for a time).
He will very soon lose his cool and panic as his days grow short and his sentence grows near. This will occur in the last half of the Tribulation.
But for now, we have a verse before us, mentioning the beast who was, and is not, and is to come.
This is a history lesson of sorts. In the first half of this verse, the beast is mentioned as 'who was,' is a specific reference to Satan. Though we have been referring to the anit-christ, that person is not Satan, but a very real man and will not be in this world until the end of the Church Age.
Remember that the Tribulation begins with the Rapture, and the Tribulation will last only seven years, therefore, the anti-christ will have to be born during the last decades of the Church Age. When, of course, no one can know, because we do not know his age when he comes into power. He could be twenty like Alexander the Great, or fifty like someone else.
We know very little about the anti-christ, but what we do know is that he will be very powerful, and he will be used by Satan to conquer the world, for Satan. Scripture portrays him as an intellectual genius, Dan 7:8, an outstanding orator, Dan 7:20, a brilliant military leader without equal, Dan 7:23, a shrewd calculating, and manipulating politician, Dan 8:25; 11:21, and the ultimate religious charlatan, 2 Thess 2:4. There is more of a review of the description of this person described in Rev. 13:1-10.
But back to the thought being conveyed in this chapter and in this verse.
This is Satan's plan, not some man from the future. So we have another concept being described here. And in the next few verses it will all be tied together with the description of the seven empires from history. And only seven empires are mentioned. This is important to note.
Therefore, Satan was. He was the ruler of the world with virtually little restriction. He brought empire after empire into the world and was allowed to try and get some world leader to conquer the world for him. They all failed.
This was an attempt to beat Christ to the First Advent.
But when the Cross had been accomplished, then Satan's role diminished, 'and is not.' He is not now presently the ruler as he was before. Now there is present in the world the Royal Family, or commonly referred as the dispensation of the Church Age. This means you and me and everyone else who has believed in Christ since our dispensation began almost 2000 years ago.
Don' t misunderstand, Satan is very much alive and active in the world, but just not as before the First Advent.
When God mentioned the empires, as will be mentioned, they leave off with the Roman Empire and then do not resume until the next empire, that of the anti-christ. Rome fizzled in just a few centuries after the First Advent, and the next empire will not come about until after the Rapture. That is still future, so thus far we have a gap in Satan's empire building activity of well over 1500 years, give or take.
During that time, God populated the world and spread the gospel to the four corners of the world. Ruler want-to-be's have come and gone and political ideals have come and gone, but the time of the last great Satan Empire has not been permitted.
He is going to ascend out of the bottomless pit. This indicates two things. First the bottomless pit has been typically called the Abyss. We have already seen that demon armies will ascend up out of that pit and attack the world during the Tribulatioin.
Therefore, if Satan is to ascend up out of the pit, then he obviously has the ability to come and go from it. He certainly can or is making plans with his demon allies that remain there. How do we know? Satan has demonstrated brilliant plans before, and we have studied his brilliance for future times. He is not one to do anything arbitrarily or without forethought.
He is still the ruler of the world, but his thoughts and plans, ascend from pure evil. That is what the Abyss represents - pure evil.
And his destiny, regardless of his brilliance, is only going to get him into the Lake of Fire, referred to here as perdition, which means ruin, loss, eternal damnation.
And those whose name is not written in the book of life (unbelievers) is a reference to all who will gaze at the anti-christ (the personification of Satan), in wonderment, awe, admiration, marvel. The entire world is going to swallow the lies of evil hook, line, and sinker, as it were.
And the phrase is again repeated but with a little change - who was, and is not, and yet is.
Satan had his first opportunity during the Old Testament times. His activities have been placed on hold as God has been and is currently, making Christ's enemies a footstool, during our dispensation.
Remember that it is our dispensation which interrupted the last dispensation.
The Age of Israel was the last dispensation, with Daniels seventy weeks prophecy, that former dispensation has 490 years remaining in it. After 483 years, our dispensation interrupted that former dispensation. The Age of Israel still has seven years remaining. And that is the Seven year period of the Tribulation. It will resume when our dispensation concludes with the Rapture. We were the mystery dispensation inserted into history without prior announcement.
Anyway, Satan plans are not or have been placed on hold or have been postponed, pending the completion of our Church Age.
And yet is, means that he will get his chance at some time in the future - the Tribulation.
So, even though he has been active and has tried to destroy even our current dispensation, he will not succeed, not until our dispensation reaches its planned conclusion.
You might think of this as a promise that the end of the world will not occur during our era. So, whether you are worried about the invention of the printing press, the discovery of electricity, the gas engine, the atom bomb, or rap music, none of these and nothing else, are going to bring about the end of the world.
God has a plan, but Satan also, has a plan. And God controls both.
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