17:8 The beast which thou sawest: This beast which supports Babylon, may signify the power of the devil: which was and is not, being much limited by the coming of Christ, but shall again exert itself under Antichrist. The seven heads of this beast are seven mountains or empires, instruments of his tyranny; of which five were then fallen. (See chap. 13.1, and below, ver. 10.) The beast itself is said to be the eighth, and is of the seven; because they all act under the devil, and by his instigation, so that his power is in them all, yet so as to make up, as it were, an eighth empire, distinct from them all.