The End Times
In my last post, we began examing Revelation 17:7-11 concerning The Mystery of the Harlot Expounded. In this post, we continue to focus on The Mystery Expounded by looking at Revelation 17:12-18.
“The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet begun to rule, but they receive power as kings for one hour, along with the beast. 13 They have one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will go to war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are called, chosen and faithful will overcome along with him.” 15 Then he said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the whore is sitting, are peoples, crowds, nations, and languages. 16 As for the ten horns that you saw and the beast, they will hate the whore, bring her to ruin, leave her naked, eat her flesh and consume her with fire. 17 For God put it in their hearts to do what will fulfill His purpose, that is, to be of one mind and give their kingdom to the beast until God’s words have accomplished their intent. 18 And the woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.” ~ Revelation 17:12-18 (CJB)
The Ten Horns of the Beast
The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet begun to rule, but they receive power as kings for one hour, along with the beast. 13 They have one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. In this passage, we are told that the ten horns are ten kings. When the Beast comes to power in the western world, he does so through an alliance with ten heads of state. In Daniel, it was the ten toes that represented this coalition. The horns or toes represent a future government of Rome which we have not yet seen. However, what we see in the European Union is at least the beginning stages of this alliance. This seventh kingdom will seem to be in place just before the appearance of the Anti-Messiah. The book of Daniel tells us that the Anti-Messiah will come up from among them Daniel 7:8; and after them Daniel 7:24. Gary Cohen writes: 
“These have one mind…” These ten end-time kings give complete allegiance to the Beast, the Antichrist. This is precisely why the Beast is constantly seen as having ten horns upon his head (12:3; 13:1; 17:3). It is this group of ten allied nations that form the Revived Roman Empire which eventually becomes headed by the evil being whose mind then becomes synonymous with the mind and will of the empire. Daniel 7:24 would seem to tell us of a power struggle wherein the Antichrist subdues three of the ten kings in order to achieve absolute sway over this coalition of nations.
They will go to war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are called, chosen and faithful will overcome along with him. This verse once again gives a glimpse of the outcome. This is a direct reference to the battle of Har-Megiddo.
The Destruction of Religious Bavel
Then he [the angel] said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the whore is sitting, are peoples, crowds, nations, and languages. The influence of this religious system of the End Time will be far-reaching, as it exerts its authority and power over the people of the world. There is a foreshadowing today of pagan religious systems which control whole governments. In that final countdown to Har-Meggido, she will be joined by many other religious bodies that have much the same characteristics of Babylonism. These alliances will double and triple her strength. Chapters 38 and 39 of Ezekiel describe some Arab nations and the rise of the Muslim religion and their ties with Russia. This alliance could play a significant role in the final battle with Israel.
As for the ten horns that you saw and the beast, they will hate the whore, bring her to ruin, leave her naked, eat her flesh and consume her with fire. The ten horns and the beast, who is evil, hate the whore, who is also evil. Those who are good are to love even those who, unlike themselves, are evil. But those who are evil hate not only the good but also even those who are in themselves, evil.
Don’t forget that this event will take place chronologically about midway through the Tribulation Period. Also, keep in mind that neither of these two, the Beast nor the Whore, have any moral principles. They live only to serve their self-interests, and they enjoy a love-hate relationship. When the Beast becomes strong enough to overpower the Whore, he does precisely that. Why would the ten kings follow such a leader?
For God put it in their hearts to do what will fulfill His purpose, that is, to be of one mind and give their kingdom to the beast until God’s words have accomplished their intent. God has sovereign control over the nations and empires and their leaders, whether chosen democratically by the people or forced by power into dictatorships. There are times when it seems that no person or authority is in control on this planet, but it is certain that God, from the very beginning, has had a divine plan and it is right on schedule.
In the Tanakh God often uses the wicked to accomplish his purposes; see Exodus 10:1, Habakkuk 1:5-11. This verse is a strong statement of God’s sovereignty. Though much is said in the Book of Revelation about HaSatan and his power, there is no dualism, not the slightest suggestion that HaSatan is on a par with God. God’s words must accomplish their intent (compare Isaiah 55:10-11, Matthew 24:35, Romans 8:28).
And the woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth. The word woman is not referred to again after this verse. From here on Bavel is called a city. In the doom of the woman is seen judgment upon religious Bavel. In the next chapter is found the destruction of the city, which is God’s judgment upon commercial Bavel. The kings shall destroy the whore, but God, Himself, will rain fire and brimstone on the city and destroy it.
After the disposal of Bavel in its religious form by its destruction at the hands of the beast, the prophetic revelation in chapter 18 then deals with Bavel as a political force also destined for destruction at a later date.
Special Comparative Note on Chapter 17:12-18 
Historicists believe that Bavel is the great city reigning over the kings of the earth, which at the time was Rome, first pagan and then papal.
Preterists interpret the destruction of the whore as similar to the prophecy of Ezekial 16:37-41. They continue to be split on the identification of the actual city between Rome and Jerusalem.
Most Futurists equate the ten horns with the ten toes in the Nebuchadnezzar’s vision as recorded in Daniel 2.
Idealists are split on the identity of the ten kings with some agreeing with the Historicists and Futurists while others indicate the jury is still out.
In my next post, we’ll examine Revelation 18:1-3 ~ Bavel Is Fallen.
 A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.
 Material in this post is taken from “Revelation: Four Views, Revised & Updated” by Steve Gregg. Notations in brackets, if any, are my comments.