Revelation 17:7-12
(Rev 17:7 KJV)
And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

The angel now says to John asking him why he is such amazement at this beast. He is now going to learn the mystery of this woman and of the beast that she is riding. The angel knows that this mystery is not a mystery to him. This is a single mystery because the beast and the woman are intimately associated.

(Rev 17:8 KJV)
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.

In keeping with deception as the main tool of the kingdom of Satan. The description given here as the beast was, is not (meaning he is defeated), and ascending out of the bottomless pit is an imitation of the description given to the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Rev 1:8 KJV) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. The beast was stricken in one of his heads, yet continued to flourish and bounce back with a furious onslaught against the body of Christ. So the beast imitates Christ in that he seems to be invincible. However, the verse goes on to say that the beast will go into perdition, that is, he will be sent to eternal hell.

This verse is similar to that of Rev. 13:8 where it speaks about those on earth will wonder who is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life which was written before the foundation of the world. The true believers are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. The beast will come with such religious deceptions and those deceptions are aimed right at Christianity and those deceptions will be so close to the truth, that many in the churches will wonder who the true believers are. The greatest blow that the kingdom of Satan took was at the cross of Christ when it seemed like his kingdom was defeated yet he bounced back and that kingdom will now come wrathfully against the kingdom of God, especially in the last days when the forces of evil and good will face off for a final battle.

(Rev 17:9 KJV)
And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

The mind which has wisdom are those who are truly saved and these will not be deceived by the beast but will deceive the unbelievers who marvel at the great world system the beast rules. Now we are told of the mystery. The seven heads on which the woman sits are seven mountains. These mountains refer to kingdoms which are found in the world but are all part of the beast’s kingdom. When John received this vision, Rome was the ruling authority and it was built on seven hills. However, there are other cities built on seven hills too such as Athens, Greece. So even though the kingdoms of the world are in view in these passages, they make up the entire world system under the authority of the beast.

(Rev 17:10 KJV)
And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.

Now in this verse many have been trying to attach ancient world leaders to these seven kings. Some have even tried to attach the series of kingdoms mentioned in Scripture such as Babylon, Assyria, Rome, Egypt and others. Some prophetic preachers try to make this out to be a prophecy of a physical Anti-Christ who will rule the world in the future. However, what we have in this verse is a general description of leaders through which the beast has worked his evil. We do not know who they are but the numbers line up with the method of description we had in verse 8.

The beast that thou sawest was - Five fallen kings
and is not - One is
and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit - the other is not yet and will continue for a short time

These seven kings represent a continuing rulership by the beast of governments and religions which persecute the Christians and this rulership will continue until the last day when the kingdom of Satan will be judged in its totality. Hence the number seven as being the perfect number which represents the kingdom of Satan in its entirety, and length of time of existence.

(Rev 17:11 KJV)
And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

Here once again we are given the false title by which he tries to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ. The beast is the eighth king and is of the seven. The beast does not rule over a specific kingdom. He is listed as the eighth simply because he is of the same kingdom that the seven kings are of. The rule of the beast is over the kings of the earth, this is why he is of the seven because they are one in spirit and in goal. The beast is not a human ruler through which he works his war against the body of Christ. In fact, as we have previously seen, the beast is part of that unholy triumvirate which makes him the evil by which the seven kings draw their evil deeds and desires from. This verse also tells us that the beast will go to perdition, which means he has already been judged and the day of his doom has been set.

(Rev 17:12 KJV)
And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

These ten horns which represent ten kings are not literal kings but they represent the completeness of the evil power upon the earth which is sourced in the beast. As we saw in Revelation 5:6, that one of the descriptions of the Lord Jesus Christ is that He had seven horns. Now we know He doesn’t have horns but those seven horns represent His divinely, perfect power. Now the ten kings in this verse are ten horns which means that the beast kingdom is shown in its completeness as it comes against the kingdom of God in power in the final days. These ten kings may be the kings of the east poised on the river Euphrates which God had summoned to the final battle. The ten kings combined with the seven kings could represent the totality of the kingdom of Satan. Seven being the perfect number and ten being the number of completeness. This may be why they have no kingdom as of yet because they are representative of the entire kingdom of Satan. They are also ruling with the beast for one hour.

(1 John 2:18 KJV) Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

In 1 John 2:18, the word in the Greek for “time” is “hora” which translates as hour in Revelation 17:12. John describes the period of time from the cross to the last day as the last time or hour. Therefore, in Revelation 17:12, the ten kings could not be literal kings because they rule for the entire New Testament period which is the time frame of the book of Revelation.