Rev. 17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
Rev. 17:10 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.
There are seven heads, there are also seven kings or seven horns that will complement each head. But why seven? It is said that in scripture seven represents the number of completeness and achievement.
The heads are of the beast; each successive head will be an attempt to restore and revive the beast to its formal self, which is exactly what we see in verse 12 of Revelation 17.
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.
Daniel 7:7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
In the final stage, the beast will no longer require seven heads, it will be as it was in the beginning. The heads will have served their purpose, they will have restored the beast to it true self.
Revelation 15:3 reads,
And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed:
This obviously is the first head; it was restored first.
5And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
Here we see the beast acquired the ability to speak and it was given power to continue forty and two months, or 1260 years.
…If you go back to chapter 12 you will see that the seven heads were on the beast before the woman is depicted as sitting on it.
JohnB, the bible shows us a progression of this beast. The prophet Daniel saw it with no heads. Looking at chapter 12 as you have pointed out, it doesn’t show us the beast; instead it shows us a dragon.
3And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven…
It is not until chapter 13 that we see this beast again, now having similar characteristics as the dragon because the has given it its seat and authority.
… and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
The seven head upon the beast (not the dragon) are very much depended upon the woman as they have a relationship as the angel explains.
7And 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 Apostle John said;
1And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
When did this beast rise up? Not during the time of Daniel because it did have the seven heads, and woman wasn’t sitting upon it at that time. So, all those nations that have been mentioned is not of those seven heads.
Gene said "How was the Papacy able to kill so many when it was just a Church; where did its power come from?"
Gene, we only need to read church history to see how the RCC accomplished to kill large numbers of people May I suggest you read Foxe's Book of Martyrs. where we read that more than 50 Million was put to death by the RCC.
But I’m not questioning the fact that it did kill millions, I’m posing the question; of how was the “church” able to? Do you agree that this woman is the false Christian Church? Just asking because I'm now viewing Kenneth Cox's video Papal Rome - 5th Beast in Prophecy Papacy Vatican, and there seems to be some alteration of scripture in it which I will share with you shortly.
Gene, it will happen precisely the same way as it did in the Dark Ages the RCC will join with the 7th beast namely the USA How it is done we only know what it says in Rev 13. The Woman in Rev. 17 is the RCC and you may notice it says daughters that are other false churches.