(11) And the beast . . .—Better, And the wild beast which was, and is not, even he himself is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into destruction.
The wild beast himself, forming as it were an eighth, has to be reckoned with. There are seven heads; when these fall no eighth head will rise, but the wild beast, whose vitality has been seen in these successive heads, forms, as it were, an eighth, which is “out of the seven”—not one of them, but one rising out of them; no eighth empire shall rise, but the wild beast, now smitten in all the seven heads of his power, will, in the convulsive death-throe, seem an eighth power, in which the ebbing life of all the seven finds expression.
The wild beast linked itself with seven great empires in succession: these all fell; the wild beast is left, as an eighth: then “the wild beast goes into destruction.”
As an illustration, we may recall her whom the seven brothers had as wife; last of all the woman, the eighth, which was of the seven, died also. It has been noticed that the wild beast does not “fall,” like the others, “but goes into destruction;” there are no more world-powers like those who have fallen, but the wild beast is left, a last power reserved for destruction, a final antichrist, the lawless one whom the Lord will destroy with the brightness of His coming (2Thessalonians 2:3). This fierce and last flickering up of the doomed power of evil is dwelt on again in Revelation 20:7-10.