The Ten Kings who Reigned for One Hour

(Revelation 17:12)

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,”1Dan 7:24 different from the ten horns. In Chapter 8, it “exalted itself as high as the Captain of the Armies.”2Dan 8:11

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.”3Rev 17:12

An hour in the Book of Revelation is understood as about 533 years, which is 1/12 of the human clock of 6,400 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.”4Dictatus Papae, 1075