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Revelation 13:3

one of his heads
The head which is wounded is the seventh head:

Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. They are seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. “And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.” (Rev. Rev. 17:10-11+)1

The person of the Beast is the king of the seventh empire (the restored Roman empire equated with Daniel’s fourth beast). When he is personally killed, as head of the seventh empire, the empire also meets its demise. Some have taken the wounding of his head and his subsequent revival as describing the original Rome which disintegrated later to be revived.2 This view does not fit the scenario because this individual did not rule at the time of John (the initial phase of Rome). Taking the wound and revival as pertaining to the disintegration of Rome after John’s day and its subsequent revival at the time of the end—separated by at least 1900 years—would hardly cause the wonderment of the world which is described here which is fundamental to the ultimate worship of this individual (Rev. Rev. 13:4+). It would seem that the same populace which sees the demise of his head must also witness his revival.

It is best to identify the restoration to life with an end-time satanically controlled king who will come to the world as a false Christ. This allows for the interchangeability of the head with the whole beast—i.e., the king with his kingdom—as Rev. Rev. 13:12+, Rev. 13:14+ required. It coincides with further details to come in Rev. Rev. 17:8+. It agrees with the final climactic appearance of the beast in history as a person, in concert with the vision’s focus on the future. This means a future sequence that will be a close counterfeiting of Christ’s death and resurrection.3

as if it had been mortally wounded
ὡς ἐσφαγμένην [hōs esphagmenēn] , the identical phrase describes the “Lamb as though it had been slain” (Rev. Rev. 5:6+).4 As if denotes the appearance after having been slain and brought back to life. There is no reason to take this as merely a “wound” here when it describes the “slain” Lamb there.5

There are some who struggle with the idea that the beast could truly die because this would require a literal resurrection from the dead. Isn’t this something that only God is capable of? Our very reluctance to consider this possibility provides evidence of the tremendous influence such an event would have upon those who witness such a miracle! Surely, if the False Prophet is able to give breath to the inanimate image of the beast (Rev. Rev. 13:15+), then couldn’t God also allow Satan to exercise the necessary power to raise the dead? Scripture records that saints have raised the dead (1K. 1K. 17:21; 2K. 2K. 4:34; Acts Acts 9:40; Acts 20:10). If God empowered the saints to do so for His purposes, why couldn’t He do the same in allowing Satan to deceive those who had pleasure in unrighteousness at the end (2Th. 2Th. 2:11-12)? The terms used for the death and revival of the Beast seem to point unavoidably to a bona fide miracle, although that which it attests to (the deity of the Beast) is false (2Th. 2Th. 2:9):

[The] view [that the beast is literally resurrected from the dead] has many more advocates down through history than some might realize. . . . It is interesting to realize that even Augustine believed like [Tim] LaHaye on this matter (The City of God, Book XX, Chapter 19). Another ancient one who held views similar . . . is Lactantius (early 300s) (Divine Institutes, Book VII, Chapter 17; Commentary on the Apocalypes, Chapter 13). More recent individuals include: Lewis Sperry Chafer, J. A. Seiss, Charles C. Ryrie, Leon Morris, Walter K. Price, Robert Govett and Robert Thomas.6

his deadly wound was healed
ἡ πληγὴ τοῦ θανἀτου αὐτοῦ ἐθεραπεύθη [hē plēgē tou thanatou autou etherapeuthē] , the wound of the death of him was healed. Wound is πληγὴ [plēgē] , which often denotes a wound “as the result of a blow,”7 although it can also denote a figurative blow of misfortune. The same word describes the plagues with which the two witnesses strike the earth (Rev. Rev. 11:6+). Great emphasis is placed upon his death and revival, indicating its importance in the events which transpire at the end. It is the primary motivator for his worship (Rev. Rev. 13:12+, Rev. 13:14+; Rev. 17:11+). “Man ignores the force of Jesus’ resurrection, but will choose to be fooled by the Beast’s recovery. Why? Jesus demands righteousness; the Beast will indulge sin.”8 See Supernatural Origin?

Zechariah relates the payment of thirty pieces of silver for the value of Messiah at His First Coming when he was betrayed by Judas (Mtt. Mat. 26:15; Mat. 27:3). The passage then describes a “foolish . . . worthless shepherd” who will specialize in consuming the sheep. He is said to exhibit wounds affecting his arm and right eye:

I said to them, “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!” So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.” So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD. Then I cut in pieces my second staff Union, to break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. The LORD said to me, “Take again for yourself the equipment of a foolish shepherd. For behold, I am going to raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for the perishing, seek the scattered, heal the broken, or sustain the one standing, but will devour the flesh of the fat sheep and tear off their hoofs. Woe to the worthless shepherd who leaves the flock! A sword will be on his arm and on his right eye! His arm will be totally withered and his right eye will be blind.” (Zec. Zec. 11:12-17) [emphasis added]

If this speaks of Antichrist, perhaps, like the resurrected Christ who retained the identifying marks of His death, so too the revived Beast will retain the marks of wounds which caused his death. They will serve to authenticate his identity as the leader who was previously slain.9

Preterist interpreters believe the death and revival mentioned by John is a veiled reference to the Nero revival myth, but this seems unlikely for it is a pagan notion without factual basis.10 The revival which John records here is real, fantastic, and miraculous because it results in global worship of the Beast. Here again, we encounter deficiencies with the Preterist Interpretation. If Nero is the Beast, then any worship he may have received was prior to his demise by suicide. He never rose from the dead as described here. The worship which is attributed to the Beast results from his prior miraculous restoration. See Revival Myth. See Nero.


Notes

1 Concerning inaccuracies in the KJV and NKJV, see commentary on Revelation 17:10.

2 “The ‘healing,’ then, of the head of the beast, speaks of the Roman Empire, which fell in A.D. 476; the empire has a latter-day emergence, form, or development.”—Daniel K. Wong, “The Beast From The Sea in Revelation 13,” in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 160 no. 639 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, July-September 2003), 346.

3 Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 8-22 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1995), Rev. 13:3.

4 The Greek is identical with the exception of the gender of the participle: the Lamb is masculine, the head is feminine. A similar phrase appears in Revelation Rev. 13:8+.

5 “Many take the phrase, as though he had been smitten unto death , to mean that the Antichrist appeared to be dead but was not really. However, the same idiom is used of Messiah in Revelation Rev. 5:6+, and there was no question that Messiah died.”—Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 247.

6 Ice, “The Death and Resurrection of the Beast, Part 2,” in Thomas Ice, ed., Pre-Trib Perspectives, vol. 8 no. 23 (Dallas, TX: Pre-Trib Research Center, May 2005), 5.

7 Frederick William Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 668.

8 Monty S. Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John (Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries, 1987), Rev. 13:3.

9 “The popular Islamic picture of the Antichrist, or Dajjal, graphically portrays him as blind in one eye, with the word kafir—unbeliever—written on his forehead; his primary function is to mislead the unbelieving masses by claiming divinehood and the power to perform miracles.”—Norman L. Geisler and Abdul Saleeb, Answering Islam (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1993), 113.

10 “Some have seen in the healing of the wound a reference to the Nero redivivus belief of the first century . . . It is doubtful . . . that John would have used a false rumor as a basis for this.”—Wong, “The Beast From The Sea in Revelation 13,” 346n27.

Read Revelation 13:3