Which of the beast’s seven heads has the fatal wound?

Summary

One head was fatally wounded.

John saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had “ten horns and seven heads” (Rev 13:1). John also “saw one of his heads as if it had been slain,” for it had a “fatal wound” (Rev 13:3).

A “fatal wound” is a wound that kills. In other words, the beast was dead. Therefore, when the wound was healed, it is said that the beast “has come to life” (Rev 13:12, 14; cf. Rev 2:8; 20:4).

But the entire beast did not die; only “one of his heads” was “slain” (Rev 13:3). Since the seven heads exist one after the other (Rev 17:9-10), the seven heads symbolize the seven phases of the beast’s existence. So, the death of one of its heads is the death of the whole beast but only for a time.

The Fatal Wound in Revelation 17

Revelation 17 also describes the fatal wound. In that chapter, the beast:

      • Is not” (Rev 17:8), implying that it does not exist,
      • Is in “a wilderness” (Rev 17:3), symbolizing difficult circumstances (cf. Rev 12:6, 14),
      • Is in the “abyss” (Rev 17:8), symbolizing incapacity (Rev 20:3), and
      • Has no diadems (ruler crowns) (Rev 17:3; cf. Rev 12:3; 13:1;), implying that it is unable to rule.

So, in Revelation 17, the beast is suffering, weakened, and unable to rule. In some sense, it “is not.”

Since two different chapters of Revelation describe the beast in a weakened state, these likely describe the same weak period. Furthermore, both the fatal wound in Revelation 13 and the abyss in Revelation 17 symbolize incapacity (Rev 20:3):

For the beast to be alive means to blaspheme God and to persecute God’s people (e.g., Dan 7:25; Rev 13:5-7). Therefore, for the beast to be dead (have a fatal wound) means to be unable to persecute God’s people for it has been incapacitated.

That is also the meaning of being in the abyss. For example, Satan is bound in the abyss “so that he would not deceive the nations any longer” (Rev 20:3). And, after the beast comes up from the abyss, it immediately proceeds to persecute God’s witnesses (Rev 11:7, 3).

For these reasons, Revelation 17 describes the same fatal wound as 13:3.

The wound healed in Revelation 17

This conclusion is confirmed by the fact that Revelation 17 describes the same recovery as Revelation 13. To see this, compare the following two verses:

His fatal wound was healed.
And the whole earth was amazed
and followed after the beast
” (Rev 13:3).

The beast that you saw …
is about to come up out of the abyss

And those who dwell on the earth …
will wonder when they see the beast
” (Rev 17:8).

Note the similarities:

      1. In both, the whole world adores the beast.
      2. Amazed” (13:3) is similar to “wonder” (17:8).
      3. In both chapters, the beast is exalted after its recovery (Rev 13:3-4; 17:8).
      4. In both chapters, the beast’s followers are described as:

Everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life” (Rev 13:8; 17:8).

These similarities indicate that the beast’s fatal wound in Revelation 13 is equivalent to the beast being in the abyss in Revelation 17.

The Fatal Wound is the Sixth Head.

Revelation 17 explains the beast and its heads by referring to the past, the present, and the future:

The Beast (Rev 17:8) Heads (Rev 17:10)
Past Was Five have fallen.”
Present Is not and is in the abyss One is.” This would be the sixth head.
Future Will “come up out of the abyss.” The other” (the seventh) will “come.”

Therefore, the period when the beast is in the abyss, which is equivalent to the head with the fatal wound, is the sixth head. After the fatal wound has been healed, the entire world will follow after the beast (Rev 13:4). This will be the seventh and final head of the beast.

Identity of the Sixth Head

This article does not identify the sixth head in terms of a specific period in history. To identify the sixth in that way, one needs to identify all seven heads. This is done in other articles on this website. See:

– END OF SUMMARY –


Revelation 13:3-4

3. I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain,
and his fatal wound was healed.
And the whole earth was amazed
and followed after the beast

4. They worshiped the dragon
because he gave his authority to the beast;
and they worshiped the beast, saying,

“Who is like the beast,
and who is able to wage war with him?”

The purpose of the current article is to explain what this fatal wound is, including which head was dead.

What does a head with a fatal wound look like? John is describing what he saw in vision but much of that was not visual images but concepts that the Holy Spirit gave him to understand.

Verse 1 described the heads of the beast. Verse 2 explains the body. Verse 3 returns to the heads.

Identity of the Beast

Great Red DragonBased on Revelation 13:1-2, the previous article identified the dragon and the beast as follows:

1. In the context of Revelation 13:2, the dragon is the same as the fourth animal in Daniel 7 and symbolizes the Roman Empire.

2. Revelation’s beast is the same as the evil 11th horn in Daniel 7 and symbolizes a world power that:

        • Came into existence when the Roman Empire fell and divided into many kingdoms in the fifth or later centuries,
        • Became the most powerful of the kingdoms ruling in the territory of the previous Roman Empire (Dan 7:20), and
        • Had the authority of the Roman Empire (cf. Rev 13:2).

This wound is fatal.

This is not simply a serious wound but a “fatal wound” (Rev 13:3). In other words, the beast was dead. For that reason, when the wound was healed, the beast “has come to life” (Rev 13:12, 14). That same expression is used for Christ’s resurrection (Rev 2:8) and the resurrection of God’s people at the beginning of the thousand years (Rev 20:4).

Only for a Time

But the entire beast did not die; only “one of his heads” was “slain” with this fatal wound (Rev 13:3). Revelation 17:9-10 shows that the seven heads exist one after the other:

The “seven heads … are seven kings;
five have fallen,
one is,
the other has not yet come
” (NASB).

Therefore, the seven heads symbolize the seven phases of the beast’s existence. The beast is simply the sum of the seven phases. Apart from the seven heads, there is no beast. So, the death of one of its heads is the death of the whole beast but only for a time.

Worshiped the Beast

The whole earth … worshiped the beast” (Rev 13:3-4). The English word “worship” usually means that the object of worship is a god; either the true God or a false god (Cambridge, Merriam-Webster). In contrast, the Greek word translated as “worship” (proskuneó), as defined by the NAS Exhaustive Concordance, is “to do reverence to.” In Greek, it usually means to do reverence to a king or some other person in an exalted position. In the current verse, people proskuneó the beast not as a god or as God but in the normal Greek sense of the word, namely, as a mighty king, for they say:

Who is like the beast, and who is able
to wage war with him?
” (Rev 13:4)

In other words, they show respect to the beast because it is powerful.

Furthermore, “they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast” (Rev 13:4). In the context of Revelation 13:1-4, the dragon symbolizes the Roman Empire. That empire no longer existed when the beast receives its fatal wound or when the wound was healed. But, by worshiping (showing respect to) the beast, which is the descendant of the Roman Empire, the people indirectly show respect to the Roman Empire.

Revelation 17 describes the Fatal Wound.

This section shows that Revelation 17 also describes the beast’s fatal wound and its recovery from that wound. It explains what that fatal wound is and which of the seven heads is dead.

The Same Fatal Wound

As the following indicates, at the point in history described by Revelation 17, the beast is dead:

Is not – The beast “is not” (Rev 17:8). In other words, in some sense, at this time, the beast does not exist.

Wilderness –In Revelation 12, the pure woman was described as in the wilderness (Rev 12:6, 14), symbolizing difficult circumstances. But, in Revelation 17, the beast is in the “wilderness” (Rev 17:3). It is unusual for the beast to be in the wilderness. It was not in the wilderness when the pure woman was in that place. Neither was the beast in the “wilderness” in John’s time when the Roman Empire brutally persecuted Christians.

Abyss – Revelation 17 describes a specific point in history with a past, a present, and a future. In the present, the beast is in the “abyss” (Rev 17:8), which symbolizes incapacity (Rev 20:3).

Diadems – In contrast to the dragon and the beast from the sea, the beast in Revelation 17 has no diadems (ruler crowns) (Rev 12:3; 13:1; 17:3), implying that it is unable to rule.

So, in Revelation 17, the beast is suffering, weakened, and unable to rule. In some sense, it “is not.” For the following reasons, this is the same as the fatal wound of Revelation 13:

Firstly, since two different chapters of Revelation describe the beast in a weakened state, these likely describe the same weak period. The purpose of Revelation 17 is to explain the seventh plague, where the harlot Babylon has to drink the cup of the wine of God’s fierce wrath (Rev 16:19; 17:1). For that reason, Revelation 17 goes over the same ground covered by previous prophecies, to explain where Babylon fits into the picture.

Secondly, both the fatal wound and the abyss symbolize incapacity (Rev 20:3):

For the beast to be alive means to blaspheme God and to persecute God’s people (e.g., Dan 7:25; Rev 13:5-7). Therefore, for the beast to be dead (have a fatal wound) means to be unable to persecute God’s people; it has been incapacitated.

That is also the meaning of being in the abyss. For example, Satan is bound in the abyss “so that he would not deceive the nations any longer” (Rev 20:3). Similarly, after the beast comes up from the abyss, it immediately proceeds to persecute God’s witnesses (Rev 11:7, 3).

The Same Recovery

Further evidence that Revelation 17 describes the fatal wound of 13:3 is that it describes the same recovery as in Revelation 13.

In Revelation 17, the beast is predicted to come up out of the abyss (Rev 17:8). To confirm that these describe the same recovery, compare the following two verses:

His fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast” (Rev 13:3).

The beast that you saw … is about to come up out of the abyss … And those who dwell on the earth … will wonder when they see the beast” (Rev 17:8).

Note the similarities:

1. In both, the whole world adores the beast.

2. “Amazed” (13:3) and “wonder” (17:8) are similar concepts.

3. In both chapters, this exaltation of the beast follows after its recovery:

        • In Revelation 13 – after the beast has recovered from the fatal wound.
        • In Revelation 17 – after it came out of “the abyss” (Rev 17:8).

4. In both chapters, the beast’s followers are described as “everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life” (Rev 13:8; 17:8).

Conclusions

These similarities indicate that:

1. The two chapters describe the same period of incapacity. In other words, the beast’s fatal wound in Revelation 13 is equivalent to the beast being in the abyss in Revelation 17.

2. The subsequent worship in the two chapters describes the same event. 

The Fatal Wound is the Sixth Head.

Revelation 17 explains the beast and its heads by referring to the past, the present, and the future:

The Beast (Rev 17:8) Heads (Rev 17:10)
Past Was Five have fallen.”
Present Is not and is in the abyss One is.” This would be the sixth head.
Future Will “come up out of the abyss.” The whole world will “wonder when they see the beast. The other” (the seventh) “has not yet come.”

From this, we can conclude as follows:

1. In the present time of Revelation 17, the beast “is not” because it is in the abyss. It will “come up out of the abyss.” In other words, in the ‘present’, it exists but it is incapacitated.

2. The present time is the sixth head. The period in the abyss, therefore, is the sixth head. And since the fatal wound is equal to the abyss, the fatal wound is the sixth head.

3. Since both the seventh head and the adoration of the beast by the whole world are in the future, this adoration is the seventh head. In other words:

        • The entire sixth head is dead.
        • The fifth head or phase comes to an end when the beast-power is killed.
        • That “his fatal wound was healed” (Rev 13:3, 12) means that the sixth phase has come to an end and the seventh head (phase) has begun.

This conclusion may be supported as follows: We nowhere read that the head with the mortal wound comes to life. But we do read that “the beast who had the wound … has come to life” (Rev 13:14).

Identity of the Sixth Head

So far, the sixth head has not yet been identified. To identify the sixth, one needs to identify all seven heads. This is done in other articles on this website. See:

John’s time?

Many commentators assume, arguing that John had to understand what he is being told, that the ‘present time’ in Revelation 17 must refer to John’s own time. But that would mean that the beast was dead in John’s time, which most certainly was not the case. At that time, the authorities were most very able to persecute Christians.

My view is that, when the angel “carried” John “into a wilderness” (Rev 17:3), he took John not to a specific place but to a specific time in history which was not necessarily John’s time.


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3 Replies to “Which of the beast’s seven heads has the fatal wound?”

  1. Dragon- Rome. Power to the Beast- Vatican. Deadly wound- Napoleon ends Papacy reign. 1929- Mussolini restores power back to Vatican. The deadly wound was healed. Vatican is false religion. Changed the Ten Commandments to worship idols and changed Sabbath to Sunday. The Cuban deal in 2015 was “hammered out” at the Vatican. The enemy is Satanism. Cloaked by Freemasons.
    Jesus was an Essene. Read missing books rescued from Vatican- there are four. The truth comes out in the end. Peace be with you.

  2. In the article, it says “The fifth phase comes to an end when the beast-power is killed and the seventh and final head or phase starts when the fatal wound is healed.” Am I missing something or is “fifth” a misprint that should read “sixth”? You say the AC is “dead” during the entire sixth phase so I’m confused.

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