The Ten Horns Have No Kingdom as Yet!

25 Feb
Delegated Authority

from Google Images

The ten horns mentioned in the seventeenth chapter of the Apocalypse are described as ten kings (Revelation 17:12). Yet, these ten kings have no kingdom of their own. One could say that a king without a kingdom is no king at all, at least no king of any consequence. This understanding is true, but not entirely so, that is to say: it may be a rule, but there are exceptions to the rule. Notice that these kings “have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast” (Revelation 17:12). Moreover, the text concludes that they give their power or authority as kings over to the beast (Revelation 17:13). In other words, they are the beast’s source of power. Without these ten kings, the beast, upon whom the great harlot sits (Revelation 17:3) would have no power at all to carry out its will!

In my previous study: The Seven Heads Are Seven Kings, I concluded that the seven heads of the beast were the priests of the household of Annas, the first man that Rome appointed as high priest over the land of the Jews in 6 AD, just after the banishment of Archelaus, the son of Herod the Great. Below is a chart of both the high priests and the respective horns that empowered them:

The Beast of Revelation 17 with the Horns


Horns Identity of the Horns

Reign of the Head


Three Coponius; Ambivius; Ananius Rufus

6 AD to 15 AD


One (Valerius Gratus)

16 AD to 17 AD


One Pontius Pilate

18 AD to 36 AD




(Pontius Pilate – mentioned above)

Ventidius Cumanus; M. Antonias Felix

36 AD to 37 AD

52 to 58 AD


Two Marcellus; Marullus

37 AD to 41 AD


(reigned under King Agrippa)

42 AD to 44 AD

Ananias One Albinus 62 AD (2-3 months)

Notice that the text says the ten horns hadn’t received a kingdom “yet” (verse-12). The Greek word translated ‘yet’ (oupo – Greek 3768) does not always indicate time, but it also has the sense of degree. For example, Matthew 24:6 clearly points to time in that the end is not yet come (see also John 3:24). Nevertheless, Hebrews 2:8 clearly points to degree. The text there says all things have already been put under Christ. Jesus even says so of himself in Matthew 28:18. However, we cannot yet see it (cp. 2Kings 6:15-17). That is, our perception is not that clear or spiritually powerful, we have to take it by faith that Jesus is in control of worldly events. He may not be their author, but he controls their outcome.

John 11:30 shows Jesus as not having come to Bethany but was near there. The text says he was not yet come into the town. That would be true even if he did not later go to Bethany. The word has to do with degree—how far or close to Bethany he had come. Matthew 15:17 & 16:9 have to do with degree of understanding. The time of the disciples’ understanding wasn’t important, but to what degree they understood was.

Similarly, I take the text in Revelation 17:12 as referring to degree—“they have yet no kingdom…” that is, they don’t have a kingdom of their own (their authority does not attain to that degree), but “they receive power **as** (or like) kings one hour with the beast.” The ten horns of the beast I take to refer to 10 Roman procurators in the New Covenant period who reigned during the reigns of the family of Annas, as they officiated the high priesthood. The Roman procurators were not kings is the strict sense of the word, but they ruled the Jewish province as though they were kings. They had no kingdom, but they governed the Jewish state by giving their power over to the beast (i.e. the rebellious Jewish state) for one hour (i.e. for a short time) or as long as they were permitted by Rome to govern.[1]

According to the text, the ten horns, whether directly or through the beast and the harlot that rides it, make war with the Lamb (Jesus) and his disciples (Revelation 17:14; Acts 3:13-15; 4:25-27; Psalm 2:1-6; 5:30-32; cp. Matthew 23:29-36). Nevertheless, we, through the blood of the Lamb are able to overcome them (Revelation 12:11; Psalm 2:8-12). This isn’t literally true in a military sense, but as Paul says, “we are more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37), when, for all intents and purposes, we should be defeated, we never give up. We cling in faith to the promises of Jesus. Thus, we overcome in the sense that all the power of the state is unable to win us to their side.


[1] “The governor, whether proconsul, propraetor, legate or prefect, wielded the power of Rome in his province. He was bound by the provincial charter to honor specific arrangements for tax exemption and other prerogatives, and the provincials could complain about his administration to the senate or emperor. Otherwise, his exercise of imperium was very nearly absolute. He made deals with the local authorities in the cities or tribes. He exercised police powers through his command of the legions, if any were stationed in the province, or more often through a smaller military unit made up of auxiliary troops composed of non-Roman citizens. He heard law cases and pronounced capital sentences…” THE GRECO-ROMAN WORLD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT by James S. Jeffers; Chapter 6 “Governing of the Provinces & Palestine” – page 114.

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Posted by on February 25, 2020 in Apocalypse, Book of Revelation


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