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2.7.1. The Timing of His Ascent

Although the previous views are provocative, it seems more likely that the ascent of the beast from the Abyss denotes his revival rather than his conception. His ascent from the Abyss (Rev. Rev. 11:7+; Rev. 17:8+) is related as one of a series of events concerning His life history (Rev. Rev. 17:8+):
  1. The beast was.
  2. The beast is not.
  3. The beast will ascend out of the bottomless pit.
  4. The beast will go into perdition (Rev. Rev. 17:11+; Rev. 19:20+; Rev. 20:10+).
If the grammatical sequence of Revelation Rev. 17:8+ reflects his actual history, it implies that the beast comes into existence, receives a deadly wound, ascends from the Abyss, and is finally destroyed. His ascent from the Abyss may be connected with his reappearance upon the stage of history rather than his initial origin. Scripture indicates that the beast will receive a serious wound which results in his death. His miraculous revival from the wound contributes to his worship:

Woe to the worthless shepherd, who leaves the flock! A sword shall be against his arm and against his right eye; his arm shall completely wither, and his right eye shall be totally blinded. (Zec. Zec. 11:17)

And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. (Rev. Rev. 13:3+)

And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. (Rev. Rev. 13:14+)

The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. (Rev. Rev. 17:8+)

It seems best to understand the ascent of the beast from the Abyss as denoting the demonic supernatural means by which he returns from the dead. His restoration from a fatal wound will parallel the resurrection of Christ from the dead and result in even greater worship: “So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’ ” (Rev. Rev. 13:4+)

After his death he will come to life again. When he does, he will come back in a demonic rather than a purely human form to establish his world domination. This explains why the abyss, the abode of demons (Luke Luke 8:31; Rev. Rev. 9:1+, Rev. 9:2+, Rev. 9:11+) is his origin.1

If the restoration of the beast is to result in the greatest impression upon the global population, then it seems his fatal wound must have also been witnessed by these same individuals and that both his initial appearance on the stage of history and his subsequent peril and restoration must take place during the last time. This would preclude the idea that his personal restoration involves the resurrection (or even reincarnation) of the likes of Judas or Nero who both died many centuries ago and whose restoration would be difficult, if not impossible, to validate. Preterist interpreters connect the beast’s recovery with the Nero Redivivus Myth which arose some time after the suicide of Caesar Nero in A.D. 68, but this connection is problematic. See Revival Myth. The mystery surrounding his origin, the nature of his ministry and works, and the extent to which Satan is a Great Imitator will all play a factor in how the beast comes upon the scene. Only time will tell if the imitation will extend to matters of the conception or resurrection of Antichrist.

Notes

1 Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 8-22 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1995), Rev. 17:8.