The Ten Kings who Reigned for One Hour
The first hour described in the Book of Revelation is the reign of the ten kings with the beast.
The beast was symbolized by the “little horn” that came up among ten horns in the Book of Daniel. In Chapter 7, the little horn was described as “different from the first ones,” different from the ten horns. In Chapter 8, it “exalted itself as high as the Captain of the Armies.”
This little horn was the power of Satan, who exalted himself as high as Christ when the bishop of Rome wrote letters of excommunication to the churches of Asia.
The ten horns in Daniel 7 came out of an exceedingly dreadful beast, which we know to be Rome. In verse 24, we are told that “the ten horns are the ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom.” Through the bishop of Rome, Satan continued to exercise his power.
Of course, more than ten kingdoms came out of the Roman Empire, but the identities of these kingdoms are clear from John’s statement: “They receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour.”
An hour in the Book of Revelation is understood as about 500 years, which is 1/12 of the human clock of 6,000 years. After the East–West Schism in 1054, only ten states remained with the pope, including the Bohemians, who first broke free from the papacy in 1471. The political relationships of the pope with these states did not end, however, until the 16th century.
The pope gave his power to the kings of Europe, even appointing them as kings. In turn, the kings of Europe gave their power to the pope. From Hildebrand’s time in 1073, the popes exercised significant authority. Hildebrand of Sovana, known as Pope Gregory VII, excommunicated Emperor Henry IV three times and declared that “the deposal of an emperor was under the sole power of the pope.”
The Great Harlot and the Scarlet Beast
In Revelation 17, we meet the great harlot, the most obvious portrayal of the Catholic Church. The angel who guided John said, “Come and I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters” By the late 15th century, European missionaries and explorers had spread their teachings to the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. The angel described the harlot:
“With whom the kings of the earth committed fornication”— The Church compromised its teachings to appease those with political power.
“All those who dwell on the earth are made drunk with her immorality”— Isaiah called them “the drunkards of Ephraim.”
John described the harlot, he saw:
Sitting on a scarlet beast — In the Basilica of St. Paul, there are the portraits of 109 popes, all in scarlet.
Full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns — This was the same beast described in Revelation 13.
Clothed in purple and scarlet — The bishops wore purple, and the cardinals and the pope wore scarlet.
Adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls — The churches were adorned with precious stones and had magnificent architecture.
Having in her hand a golden cup — Jeremiah wrote, “Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, that made all the earth drunk.”
Full of abominations — The apostle Paul said, “Whosoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.”
On her forehead was the name—Mystery Babylon — This was the spiritual kingdom of those who worshiped the beast.
The mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth — She was the mother of denominations that mixed pagan religious practices with Christianity.
And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints — The Church was responsible for the death of thousands of saints.
John Sees a Great Harlot in the Wilderness
John said he was “carried by the Spirit into a wilderness” to see a woman who was sitting on a scarlet beast. The wilderness was the place of the saints who flew into the wilderness for “a time, times, and half a time,” away from the serpent. The saints in the wilderness could see that the Church had become a great harlot.
The Dark Ages, the 5th–10th centuries, were called such because the Church used political power then to enforce its doctrines.
After the East–West Schism and the advent of Hildebrand, the power of the popes increased significantly, and they became increasingly corrupt. Most were murderers and extortionists. They burned heretics at the stake and sold the forgiveness of sins in indulgences. Many of them had a reputation for their love of money and for fathering illegitimate children.
In his Historical Studies, Eugene Lawrence wrote, “From the twelfth to the fifteenth century the people of Europe were nearly united in opposition to the Roman See…. Every country in Europe swelled with dissidents who repelled as the Antichrist the bishop of Rome.”
In the 12th century, Peter Waldo became the first person to translate the Bible into the common language. From him came the sect of the Waldenses. Dissident groups like the Waldenses opposed the practices of the Church but remained under its power.
John Wycliffe, who died in 1384, translated the Bible into English and preached that the Bible should be the only authority of the faith. He said that the pope was the Antichrist and that the claims of the papacy were unhistorical. He also claimed that the moral depravity of priests invalidated their sacraments.
John Wycliffe’s preaching found its way to Jan Huss in Bohemia. Jan Huss preached against indulgences more than 100 years before Martin Luther did. In 1415, Jan Huss was burned at the stake. After this, the Bohemian Archbishop Jan Rokycana preached that the Church of Rome was Babylon and that the pope was the Antichrist.
The War with the Lamb
Before the Reformation, the ten kings of Western Europe oppressed the witnesses of Christ. They not only oppressed them, but they also killed them.
John said, “These [ten kings] have one purpose, and give their authority and power to the beast — “These [ten kings] will make war with the Lamb and the Lamb will overcome them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him, called chosen and faithful.”
The apostle John described Christ as a lamb more than 20 times in the Book of Revelation — first in Revelation 5:6, where he “saw a lamb standing as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes.”
These seven horns and seven eyes were described as the spirits that “go to and from throughout the earth” in Zechariah 1:10; and 4:10. They report to the Spirit of Christ, the Archangel, who is now called a lamb.
The Spirit of Christ overcame the ten kings as a lamb that was slain, through the testimony of His martyrs, called witnesses. From the Greek word for “witness” we get the English word “martyr.” Many of Christ’s witnesses became martyrs. John said, “Their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is mystically called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.”
These witnesses were called two olive trees by Zechariah, who said, they “stand beside the Lord of the whole earth.” They will overcome “not by might or by power but by My Spirit [the Spirit of Christ].”
Daniel said that Satan would “be broken without human means.” The Spirit of Christ was the stone that was cut out of the mountain “without human hands” in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. It shattered the ten toes of the great image.
The whole world became a courtroom as these two witnesses testified against the beast. Daniel said, “The court shall be seated, and his dominion shall be taken away.”
The Two Witnesses
In Revelation 11, the apostle John described the two witnesses who testified against the work of the beast. The Greek text literally says, “I will give two witnesses of Me, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days,” which we know are years. Of course, there were more than two witnesses for Christ over these 1,260 years, but Jesus said the Law required only two witnesses.
These two witnesses were clearly identified in Daniel 12, where we read, “From the time the daily sacrifice is taken away and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. Blessed is he who waits and comes to the 1,335 days.” The 1,290 days, “a time, times, and half a time,” were more exactly 1,278 days, 3 ½ years as days.
Jan Huss was burned at the stake in 1415. In 1471, the Hussites broke free from the power of the beast. The words “Blessed is he who waits and comes to the 1,335 days” bring us another 45 years, to 1516, when Martin Luther started his Reformation. He was more blessed than Jan Huss and the Hussites, who were slaughtered in the forest of Bohemia. Martin Luther and the Lutheran Church succeeded with little violence against them.
John said the two witnesses were two olive trees — the two olive trees from Zechariah. Trees represent the righteous, and these two olive trees dripped of the oil of the Spirit of Christ.
As for the two lampstands — in Revelation 1, Jesus told us that the seven churches of Asia were seven lampstands. From here we understand that lampstands are churches. The two lampstands in Revelation 11 are the Moravian and Lutheran churches.
Both Jan Huss and Martin Luther understood themselves as two witnesses who spoke against the beast. In his famous trial at the Diet of Worms, Martin Luther said, “I am a Hussite.”
The Prophecies of Martin Luther
Martin Luther is often identified as the founder of the Reformation, and his coming fulfilled several prophecies.
Most significantly, he fulfilled the prophecy of the two olive trees and the two witnesses in Zechariah, Daniel, and the Book of Revelation. Daniel said, “Blessed is he who waits and comes to 1,335 days.” Adding 45 days, or years, from the end of the “time, times, and half a time” brings us to the year 1516, when Martin Luther first challenged the authority of the papacy in a public debate. In his famous Reformation history, Jean-Henri Merle d’Aubigné said, “This disputation made a great noise, and it has been considered the beginning of the Reformation.”
The 1530 Apology of the Augsburg Confession of the Lutheran Church claimed that 1516 was the start of the Reformation. It was the fulfillment of a prophecy by a monk named Johannes Hilten, which he recorded in his commentary on the Book of Daniel. It is not known how he calculated the year 1516 or whether he knew the meaning of the 1,335 days of Daniel, but before his death in 1485, he said, “Another one … will come in A.D. 1516, who will destroy you. Neither will you be able to resist him.” Hilten was imprisoned in a Franciscan convent in Eisenach, only a short distance from Luther’s birthplace.
Martin Luther is most famous for the 95 theses he nailed onto the door of the Wittenberg Church on October 31, 1517. He preached that salvation was by faith and attacked the sale of indulgences, which were payments for the forgiveness of sins.
In fact, however, Jan Huss protested against indulgences 100 years earlier than Martin Luther did. The Lutherans believed that Martin Luther was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jan Huss, who said to his executioner, “Today you burn a goose, but in one hundred years a swan will arise, which you will prove unable to boil or roast.” Many pulpits in Lutheran churches are in the shape of a swan to commemorate this prophecy of Jan Huss.
The Preaching of the Two Witnesses
Daniel said the beast would be shattered by a stone cut out without human hands. Isaiah told us that the stone was Christ: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.”
The two witnesses, represented by Jan Huss and Martin Luther, shattered the power of the beast when they preached against the corruption of the Catholic Church.
John said, “Fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; if anyone wants to harm them, they must be killed in this way.” The prophet Jeremiah told us that this fire was the Word of God.
John continued his prophecy: “They have the power to shut up the sky in the days of their prophesying.” The Spirit of Christ was the rain poured out by the two witnesses after 3 ½ years, or 1,278 days as years, just as Elijah prayed that it not rain and after 3 ½ years he prayed for rain, and rain watered the earth. Then the saints began to rebuild the Temple of God, as prophesied by Zechariah, “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,” which the Targum told us was the Spirit of Christ, the Word.
The two witnesses freed the saints from Mystery Babylon, which John called “the great city mystically called Egypt.” They had “the power to strike the Earth with a plague.”
In the Book of Revelation, plagues are spiritual. The Earth represents the people of the world.
The first plague that Moses and Aaron made happen in Egypt involved turning water into blood. John said the two witnesses also had “the power to turn the waters into blood.” The same plague is found in the second bowl of wrath: the angel poured his bowl into the sea, and it became blood, and every living thing died. In the Book of Revelation, the “sea” represents salvation and baptism, and blood represents the spiritual death of those who are baptized in the kingdom of the beast.
After Three and a Half Days, They Stood on Their Feet
After Jan Huss was burned at the stake in 1415, all of Bohemia was outraged, and an army of Hussites continued his testimony.
In 1467, a devout group of Hussites called the Unity of the Brethren mustered the courage to declare its separation from the Catholic Church, and they selected three brothers as the ministers of their new church. Fearing that the common people would not accept the new ministers without proper apostolic authority, however, the brethren asked the Waldensian bishop Stephan to ordain them. The Waldensians believed that his succession as a bishop could be traced back to the time of the apostles.
John said that “when [the two witnesses] have finished their testimony, the beast that came up from the abyss will make war with them and overcome them and kill them.”
John said they would be killed in full view of all, and “those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days.” On August 19, 1467, Bishop Stephan was burned at the stake in Vienna, and the Moravian brethren were scattered and hunted like deer in the forest of Bohemia. The grace of God came when Archbishop Jan Rokycana died on February 22, 1471. One month later, King George Prodebrady died, and the opposition stopped. George Prodebrady was succeeded by Vladislaus. All the imprisoned members of the brethren were set free, public services began, and the new independent church prospered. This occurred three and a half days, or years, after the death of Bishop Stephan.
John said, “After three and a half days they stood on their feet, and great fear fell upon all who watched them.”
This ended the “time, times, and half a time” in the hand of the beast: 3 ½ years, 1,278 days as years from the time that the bishop of Rome exalted himself as high as Christ.