“The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”
King James Version (KJV)
17:8 The beast which thou sawest (namely, verse 3) #Rev 17:3| was, &c. - This is a very observable and punctual description of the beast, verses 8, 10, 11. #Rev 17:8|,10,11 His whole duration is here divided into three periods, which are expressed in a fourfold manner. He, 1. Was; 2 And is not; 3. And will ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition. He, 1. Was; 2. And is not; 3. And will be again. The seven heads are seven hills and seven kings: 1. Five are fallen; 2. One is; 3. The other is not come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. He, 1. Was; 2. And is not; 3 Even he is the eighth, and is one of the seven, and goeth into perdition. The first of these three is described in the thirteenth chapter. #Rev 13:1 |- 18 This was past when the angel spoke to St. John. The second was then in its course; the third woe to come. And is not - The fifth phial brought darkness upon his kingdom: the woman took this advantage to seat herself upon him. Then it might be said, He is not. Yet shall he afterwards ascend out of the bottomless pit - Arise again with diabolical strength and fury. But he will not reign long: soon after his ascent he goeth into perdition for ever.
Re 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not. See notes on Re 13:1-10. The beast that existed then, when John wrote, was to receive a deadly wound, and to appear again in a new form. They . . . whose name were not written in the book of life. Are not of God's spiritual children. From the foundation of the world. The meaning of this expression is to be sought in Re 13:8. Their names were written in the book of life which had existed from the time referred to in Re 13:8, when the plan of redemption was prepared in the counsels of God.