The Preterist view: They see this passage as the ways and means as well as God’s judgments of oppressive Rome or apostate Jerusalem. The seven hills is seen literally as Rome, either as the ones attacking Israel in 70 A.D. or the ones John is speaking about. Most in this camp see this as dealing with the seven successions of Caesars—Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, and then Galba or Vespasian (some of these had very short reigns such as Galba, Otho and Vitellius). The Great Prostitute is seen as the apostate, either Rome and its evils or Jerusalem and its rejection of God as Lord, trading allegiance to Him for compromise and apostasy. Thus, Jerusalem is prostituting itself to Rome by supporting and partaking of its evils as Jesus pointed out in Matthew 23. Others see this as Nero’s evil terror reign against the Christians. The ten horns are seen in the same way, symbolizing the kings of Rome, or the ways and means of these evil Emperors or evil apostate Jerusalem. Others see the kings and horns as the provinces of Rome and the partaking of its inequity, mainly the persecution of Christians.
The Futurist view: Most in this camp see this passage as Rome coming back into power, the Catholic Church or another entity as its theme. Others see this as Jerusalem or the succession of the great Kingdoms of Daniel and the seventh kingdom that has not come as of the writing concerning the reign of the antichrist. The ten horns is seen as ten evil rulers under the control of the beast and antichrist, waging havoc upon the earth, such as future Europe and the fifth beast of Daniel, chapter seven, in the last days. Most in this camp see this as a parallel to Daniel, chapter seven. They also see this as leading up to the battle of Armageddon. The king of kings is seen as Christ and the waters as the nations in defiance to Him. Some see this as the Roman Catholic Church coming into greater dominion and influence with apostasy. The hate the prostitute theme is seen as rivalry between factions of evil and/or the beast—after he uses people, he destroys them. Others see this as an assertion to Jezebel and how evil she was.
The Idealist view: They see this passage as Nero himself and his inflicting tribulations upon the early church, or the theme of his evils upon humanity over the centuries. Hills are seen as the peaks of evils, from totalitarian and anti-God governments, from Rome to Hitler. The ten horns are seen as the Parthian kings and/or the kings from the east. Others see these as the provinces of Rome or its allies, while others take a futurist view and see this as a future Europe, as the fifth beast of Daniel, chapter seven. Others see this as a symbol for anti-Christian powers dominating and persecuting the faithful. Some see this as the kingdoms that form after the fall of Rome, which lead up to the Holy Roman Empire of Caligula. These are the powers and themes that war with God and the Lamb, such as persecutions, and even apostasy in the Church. God has put it into their hearts means that God is still in charge, sovereign even and in spite of evil governments.
The Historicist view: They see this passage as Rome, in antiquity, as a theme of a persecuting power who is evil and bows to false gods and wicked ways such as Rome’s fall because of its vices as in “the road to perdition,” or to papal Rome in the Middle Ages taking over from Rome prior to the Reformation. Some see this as Rome transitioning to the first Christian Emperors such as Constantine, and their battles with the old Rome vanguard and its evil ways, and the struggle to convert to Christianity. Others see this as the evil papacy. The ten horns are seen as the various kingdoms that spouted up hastily and that are anti-church, persecuting the faithful, such as The Holy Roman Empire and the West versus the Eastern papacy. Others see this as the succession of Roman-Gothic English kingdoms such as the Anglo-Saxons and Visigoths. The harlot burning is seen as the fall of Rome and it being literally burned by the Goths. Some see this as the French Revolution in the late 18th century.