"'And the ten horns that you [John] saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called, chosen, and faithful.'" - Revelation 17:12-14
One of the seven angels of ch. 16 speaks to John about "the great prostitute" (v. 1) and the beast with seven heads and ten horns upon which she sits (v. 3). The seven heads stand for seven mountains (v. 9) and seven kings (v. 10). The beast is an eighth king that belongs to the seven kings (v. 11). The ten horns are ten additional kings who will hand over their power to the beast (v. 13). Together they will war against Jesus, but Jesus will conquer them (v. 14). With him will be believers--those who are called, chosen, and believing/faithful (v. 14).
There is much about this chapter that is puzzling. Who or what is the woman sitting on the beast? Who is the beast? Who are the seven heads and ten horns? Why do the ten horns and the beast hate and devour the prostitute (v. 16)? These questions are difficult to answer, but the ultimate destiny of these characters, whoever they are, is clear. Jesus will conquer them, and they will go to destruction (vv. 8, 11). By great contrast, believers will conquer with Jesus. They have been called by God, chosen by God, and have believed in God's Son (v. 14). "For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith" (1 John 5:14).
Father, these things are difficult to understand. Give us knowledge, understanding, and wisdom by your Spirit to intellectually grasp what you are saying in this chapter. Thank you for what is clear--that we who are called and chosen by grace through faith are with Jesus and will get to see him conquer the beast and the ten kings. May I be faithful to you today, by the power of your Holy Spirit within me. In Jesus' name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman