In two verses in the book of Revelation we are given a description of the beast of Revelation, which s the final world empire as having on its heads blasphemous names or as the Bible describes the “names of blasphemy.”
You may have never asked what the names of blasphemy are or you may have viewed them as having a broad meaning. On the contrary the names of blasphemy are actual names that lend meaning to the scarlet colored beast ridden by the Whore of Revelation. To first understand the names we will look at the verses that tell us of the names of blasphemy.
Revelation 13:1 tells us that the name is on each of the heads:
Then I[a] stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns,[b] and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.
Revelation 17:3 emphasizes by stating that the beast is “full of the names of blasphemy”, this is because the heads take up a good portion of the beat of Revelation and the names are written on each head.
Revelation 17:3 reads:
3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
In identifying the names of blasphemy we must first identify the heads.
Revelation 17:9 gives us a major clue:
9 “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. 10 There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come.
While not all expositors disagree on the identity of the seven heads, several have agreed that it is those empires that have conquered or taken captive the people of God since the book of Exodus.
4. Medo Persia
5. Greece (these are the five that are fallen)
6. Rome (this is the one that is)
7. Yet Future under Antichrist
8. Yet Future under Antichrist
This also lines with the book of Revelation’s description at the time that “one is”, which was Rome because the Roman Empire ruled during the writing of the book of Revelation. Some expositors have interpreted this passage as only including the kingdoms from Babylon as given in the book of Daniel, but the book of Daniel only takes into account its current place and predictions going forward. The book of Daniel does not look to the past empires of Egypt or Assyria, which kingdoms impacted the children of Israel before Babylon.
When you know the names of blasphemy and why they are there, you understand the significance of the description of the image and it helps to decipher the 7thand 8th head that are yet future, which I have written about in a separate article.
Each of the empires have something else in common, they were tied in with false gods and idolatry and their king or whatever he called himself took on the belief that he was a descendant or a chosen one of the gods, and the names they took are names that are reserved for the one true God and His Son Jesus Christ.
NAME OF BLASPHEMY Pharaoh=the good god the good shepherd
god = Ra
Ra was the major god of Egypt, associated with the sun. He merged with the god Horus to rule the world. He is associated with the falcon and hawk. Along with being represented as a man with the head of a hawk and a solar disk on top and a coiled serpent around the disk, he was depicted as a man with the head of a beetle or a man with the head of a ram. Ra was also pictured as a full-bodied ram, beetle, phoenix, heron, serpent, bull, cat, or lion.
The Mnevis bull,was worshiped as an embodiment of Ra. In Heliopolis is the formal burial ground for the sacrificed bulls north of the city. The rulers of the fifth dynasty believed they were the sons of Ra, and the deities their father. They equated themselves with gods and referred to themselves as the good god, the good shepherd Thus we have the first name of blasphemy and its kingdom intertwined with false religion.
NAME OF BLASPHEMY King = son of god , father of gods
Kings names often included Ashur.
The Assyrian flag contained an image of Ashur
The Kingship was a sacred institution rooted in heaven, the king was the son of god in human form. His Mother was Mullissu also identified with Ishtar the Queen of heaven of Nineveh. Ashur was represented as a solar disc, a winged disc with horns, with rays shooting from the disc, a circle or wheel suspended from wings with a centered warrior drawing a bow, or the warrior carries the bow in his left hand and uplifts his right hand to heaven. The disc was also mounted on a bulls head with horns among other depictions.
3. KINGDOM Babylonia
NAME OF BLASPHEMY King=god My son of god
Kings took name of Marduk or Nebo the son of the god Marduk
4. KINGDOM -Medo-Persia
NAME OF BLASPHEMY King-king of kings, king of the four corners of the world, king of the world
god= Ahura Mazda-god of good words, good thoughts, good deeds
Zoroastrianism- magus = followers of Zoroastrianism believed in the god Ahura Mazda
In Jeremiah 39:11-14, which relays the account of Nebuchadnezzar looking after Jeremiah in 39:13 is the mention of Rabmag, which means chief of the magus.
11 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying, 12 “Take him and look after him, and do him no harm; but do to him just as he says to you.” 13 So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard sent Nebushasban, Rabsaris, Nergal-Sharezer, Rabmag, and all the king of Babylon’s chief officers; 14 then they sent some one to take Jeremiah from the court of the prison, and committed him to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, that he should take him home. So he dwelt among the people.
Ahura Mazda is depicted as a winged symbol with a male figure. It was customary for every emperor from Cyrus until Darius III to have an empty chariot drawn by white horses as a place for Ahura Mazda to accompany the Persian army on battles.
While Darius was a follower of Ahura Mazda, Cyrus acknowledged all gods and referenced in the Cyrus cylinder his pleasing Marduk. He believed he was chosen by Marduk (Bel) to restore peace and order to the Babylonians.
While Cyrus did not see himself as a son of god, he viewed himself as a king of kings and as ordained by the gods, within the cylinder it states, “ “I am Cyrus, king of the world, great king, powerful king, king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four quarters [of the earth], son of Cambyses, great king, king of Anshan, descendant of Teispes, great king, king of Anshan, the perpetual seed of kingship, whose reign Bel] and Nebo love, and with whose kingship, to their joy, they concern themselves.”
Cyrus’s Cylinder is considered the first human rights charter, and although Cyrus’s deeds were not evil and his subjects revered him to the point of referring to him as “the father.” He rulers of the Achaemenid Empire and especially Darius held the belief of having been given power because of the gods.
5. KINGDOM– Greece
NAME OF BLASPHEMY– King-son of god
god= Zues and other Egyptian, Persian and Greek gods
6. KINGDOM-Rome-consolidation of Roman, Greek and absorbed all other pagan gods, also like Babylon steeped in superstition, divination and omens.
NAME OF BLASPHEMY Emperor- deliverer, savior, god on earth
god-Roman gods and Greek gods sometimes overlapped, so they combined those gods into one. Romans were open to other gods from around the world they did not hear of.
7th and 8th see my article The Identity of the 7th and 8th head of the Beast of Revelation Explained.
In knowing the names of blasphemy we understand the reason the beast is scarlet colored. The red color is the blood of the saints, marytrs and the blood shed in war We see red in the second horseman of the Revelation and it is red because it symbolizes blood from violent death.
Revelation 17 tells us that the Whore is drunk with the blood of the Saints and the martyrs of Jesus. Verse 6 states: 6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
The blood of the saints can possibly refer to the kingdoms before Christ with martyrs of Jesus referring to at the time of Christ or afterwards, considering the time frame each of these kingdoms ruled.
Notice also that each of the heads or governments conquered and absorbed the nation of Israel into its territory. Each differed slightly on their god and what was expected of the subjects. The Medo-Persian empire seemed to fit the least because it was under Cyrus that the Jews were allowed to rebuild the temple and he returned the temple implements, but based on Cyrus’s cylinder he served all different gods and sought to get each of their favor. His chief god, Ahura Mazda was a god of goodness and Cyrus was performing the actions he felt would please his god. He took on the blasphemous name “king of kings and king of the world”
In our looking to the future Revived Roman Empire or the Final World Empire, which ever you chose to call it, we have a view to the its future based on these past kingdoms.
Be sure to read the follow up article to this one regarding the yet future 7th and 8th heads. See my article The Identity of the 7th and 8th head of the Beast of Revelation Explained.