Revelation 13:3-4 – The beast’s fatal wound was healed.

SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE

The previous article (on Revelation 13:1-2) concluded that the dragon is the same as the fourth beast of Daniel 7, which is a symbol for the Roman Empire. That article also concluded that the beast from the sea is an organization formed by the peoples of the world that is a successor of and part of the series of beasts in Daniel 7.  More specifically, the sea beast is the real descendant or successor of the Roman Empire.

The current article discusses the healing of the fatal wound in Revelation 13:3-4. The huge following which the beast enjoys in 13:3-4 is the consequence of that healing.

THE DEADLY WOUND IS THE SIXTH HEAD.

Verse 3 indicates that it is not the entire beast that is killed but only “one of his heads.” However, the seven heads are the seven phases of the beast. For that reason, the death of one head is also the death of the entire beast – for a period of time. In other words, there will be a time when the beast-power will be dead.

Revelation 17 reveals that the period of death is the sixth head. The beast is dead during the entire sixth head. 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. The seven heads, therefore, are:

      1. Babylon
      2. Medo-Persia;
      3. Greece;
      4. Dragon (Roman Empire)
      5. Sea beast
      6. Sea beast dead, i.e. unable to persecute God’s people.
      7. Sea beast resurrected

All three chapters 12, 13, and 17 of Revelation mention the weak period for the dragon’s forces. Revelation 13 and 17 describe events as in the past and the future. This is always relative to this weak period; the sixth head.

THE WORSHIP IN 13:4 IS THE END-TIME WAR.

Revelation 12:17 mentions that the dragon goes away to prepare for the end-time war. The last part of Revelation 13 describes that war as AN IMAGE OF THE BEAST that kills God’s people. To enable us to understand what its image is, the first part of Revelation 13 takes us back in time and explains who and what the beast is. The current verses (13:3-4) are part of that explanation and emphasize the adulation which the beast power will receive in that final war; after its wound has been healed.

Based on the verb tenses, Jon Paulien proposes that 13:3-4 describe the actions of the sea beast before the time of Rev 12:17. Consequently, in his view, Revelation 13:4 and 13:8 describe two different periods of worldwide worship and adulation of the beast: 13:3-4 occurs before 12:17 while 13:8 is the end-time crisis mentioned in 12:17.

However, the similarity of the language in Rev 13:4 and 13:8 implies that it is the same event. I propose that the switch from the past tense in the first seven verses to the future tense in verse 8 does not make a distinction between past and future events, but between the function of these verses:

      • Revelation 13:1-7 is an interruption of the sequence of events to introduce and identify the sea beast.
      • The future tense in verse 8 serves to separate this verse from the previous 7 and to indicate that verse 8 continues the action where it is left off in 12:17.

– END OF SUMMARY –

13:3 HEALING OF THE FATAL WOUND

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

Verse 1 discusses the heads of the beast. Verse 2 explains the body. Now, in verse 3, the heads are in view again.

THE BEAST WILL BE DEAD FOR A PERIOD OF TIME.

This is not simply a serious wound but a fatal wound, which means it is a wound that kills.

Verse 3 indicates that it is not the entire beast that is killed; it is only “one of his heads” that was “slain.” However, the seven heads are consecutive rather than contemporary with each other (Rev 17:8-11). The seven heads, therefore, are seven phases of the beast. For that reason, the death of one head is also the death of the whole beast for a period of time. Consistent with that concept, according to verses 12 and 14, the entire beast died. In other words, this passage predicts that there will be a period of time when the entire beast-power will be dead.

Revelation 13:14 says that the beast “came back to life.” The same expression is used for the resurrection of God’s people at the beginning of the thousand years (Rev 20:4). This confirms that the deadly wound of this verse is a wound unto death and that the healing is, in fact, a resurrection.

THE PERIOD OF DEATH IS THE SIXTH HEAD.

We see this same period of death in Revelation 17. The beast is dead at the point in time to which the angel took John (Rev 17:3), as indicated by the following:

      • The beast “is not” (Rev 17:8).
      • The beast is in the “wilderness” (Rev 17:3), which means it survives only with difficulty (cf. Rev 12:6, 14).
      • The beast is then also in the “abyss” (Rev 17:8), which means a state of inactivity (Rev 20:2).

In that time, while the beast “is not” (Rev 17:8), it is said of the seven heads that “one is” (Rev 17:10). This is the sixth head:

        • The seven heads are … seven kings;
        • five have fallen,
        • one is,
        • the other has not yet come” (Rev 17:9-10).

This means that the beast-power is dead during the sixth head or phase.

In both Revelation 13 and 17, the people of the world worship the beast after it recovers (Rev 13:4, 8; 17:8). This confirms:

      • That the period of the fatal wound in Revelation 13 is the same as the “is not” period in Revelation 17 and
      • That the subsequent worship period in both chapters is the same. 

THE ENTIRE SIXTH HEAD IS DEAD.

It is not that the sixth head is first alive and then dies and then comes to life again. Revelation 17 simply indicates that the beast is in the abyss during the sixth head. The implication is that the entire sixth head is dead. In other words:

      • The fifth phase comes to an end when the beast-power is killed.
      • Throughout the period of the sixth head, the beast remains dead.
      • The seventh and final head of phase starts when the fatal wound is healed and the beast comes back to life AS A NEW HEAD.

THE SEVEN HEADS IDENTIFIED

Building on the article on Revelation 13:1-2, we now have the seven heads:

      1. Babylon
      2. Medo-Persia;
      3. Greece;
      4. Dragon = Roman Empire
      5. Sea beast
      6. Sea beast dead / in wilderness (Rev 17:3) / in abyss (Rev 17:8) / is not (Rev 17:8)
      7. Sea beast worshiped after the fatal wound has been healed (Rev 13:4, 8; 17:8)

For a more systematic discussion of the heads, see the Seven Heads Identified.

DEAD MEANS UNABLE TO PERSECUTE.

Dead means to be unable to act (Rev 20:2). The primary functions of the beast are to blaspheme God and to persecute the saints (Rev 13:6-7; cf. Dan 7:25). To be dead means that the beast is unable to persecute those who do not accept His blaspheming doctrines and practices.

THE TIME PERSPECTIVE OF THESE PROPHECIES

In Rev 12:17, the dragon is forced to go away to regroup for the end-time war. This is, in other words, a period of weakness for the dragon.

Revelation 13 describes that same period of weakness as a fatally wounded head. The worship of Rev 13:8 is in the future tense, indicating that that follows after the weak period.

Several indicators, as listed above, show that Revelation 17 also describes events from the time perspective of the same weak period, which is the sixth head.

Both Revelation 13 and 17, therefore, describe events as in the past and the future.  The past and the future are always relative to the beast’s weak period as mentioned in Rev 12:17. This implies that Revelation 12 is the foundation of the remainder of Revelation. That chapter starts a new story and the entire remainder of Revelation continues that story, but with flashbacks to explain new characters.

The whole earth was amazed
and followed after the beast

The text implies that this huge following which the beast enjoys is the consequence of the healing of the wound.

In Revelation 13, it is clear that the Antichrist figure has worldwide impact and influence, especially at the end (Rev 13:7-8, 14,16). No one will be excluded from the final test of true versus false worship. The Antichrist will enforce a global economic boycott (Rev 13:16-17) and a death decree against all who refuse to worship the image of the beast (Rev 13:15). To those who believe that the persecutions of the Middle Ages are forever gone, the future holds a big surprise.

THIS CONTINUES THE STORY FROM 12:17.

The story in Revelation 12 is more or less chronological. In Rev 12:16, the earth helps the woman and the dragon suffers another defeat. Therefore, in Rev 12:17, the dragon goes away to prepare for the end-time war against the rest of the woman’s children. The last part of Revelation 13 explains that Satan’s main agent in this final war will be the image of the beast:

The image of the beast would even speak
and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast
to be killed
” (Rev 13:15).

But, to understand what the image of the beast is, we need to know what the beast is. For that purpose, the first part of Revelation 13 explains who and what the beast is. It takes us back in time to describe the beast coming out of the sea, its deadly wound, and the healing of the wound. From the time perspective of 12:17, the wounding of the beast is a past event. But the healing of the wound, when “the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast,” is the end-time war mentioned in 12:17.

IS THE ADULATION of 13:4 BEFORE 12:17?

Revelation 13:1 introduces a new character; the beast from the sea. When a new character appears in Revelation for the first time, that character is first explained. It may then seem as if Revelation jumps back in time.

A good example is Babylon. She is mentioned in the seventh and last plague at the end of Revelation 16 and then Revelation uses two full chapters to explain who she is. The storyline of the seven plagues only continues at the beginning of chapter 19, where “a great multitude in heaven” praises God, “for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality” (Rev 19:1-2).

HEALING OF THE FATAL WOUND A PAST EVENT

Therefore, to put events in their correct chronological sequence, we must distinguish between such interruptions and the true chronological sequence of events. To do this, Jon Paulien proposes that 13:3-4 describe the actions of the sea beast before the time of 12:17. He argues that the main verbs in Rev 13:1-7 are all in the past tense, compared to Rev 13:8, which abruptly switches to the future tense. Paulien proposes that this indicates that 13:1-7 describes events before the end-time events of Revelation 12:17. Consequently, in his view:

      • The end-time crisis mentioned in 12:17 is only described in 13:8 and
      • Revelation 13:4 and 13:8 describe two different periods of worldwide worship and adulation of the beast; one before and one after 12:17.

HEALING OF THE FATAL WOUND A FUTURE EVENT

However, the similarity of the language in Rev 13:4 and 13:8 implies that it is the same event. Furthermore, as Paulien himself remarked, the resurrection of the sea beast seems to be the defining moment that introduces the end-time battle into the narrative of chapter 13. Since the ‘resurrection’ (the healing) is mentioned in Rev 13:3, the adulation of 13:4, which is the consequence of the healing, must describe the end-time crisis.

I, therefore, propose that the switch from the past tense in the first seven verses to the future tense in verse 8 does not make a distinction between past and future events, but between the function of these verses:

Revelation 13:1-7 is an interruption of the sequence of events to introduce and identify a new character—the sea beast—by means of its appearance and history, stating that it will have three phases; before, during, and after the deadly wound. 

This abrupt shift into the future tense in verse serves to separate this verse from the previous 7 and to indicate that verse 8 continues the action where it is left off in 12:17.

In this proposal, 13:4 and 13:8 refer to the same event; the very final conflict of earth’s history—after the healing of the wound—when the whole world will follow and ‘worship’ the beast.

13:4 WORSHIP THE BEAST

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?”

WORSHIP

This “worship” continues the description of the final and seventh phase; after the wound has been healed.  People worship the sea beast because of its startling resurrection, and they effectively worship the dragon because he is the power behind the beast: “The dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority” (Rev 13:2).

The word “worship” normally means that we worship God. But the Greek word translated “worship” (proskuneó) is defined by the NAS Exhaustive Concordance as “to do reverence to.” In Greek, it normally means to do reverence to a king or some other person in an exalted position. For more information, see the article, Jesus is worshiped.

In the current verse, “worship” can be understood as to regard the beast as the most powerful. As the people said: “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” (13:4) They do not believe in the Almighty. This is a title that, in the New Testament, is only used in Revelation, except for one quote from the Old Testament. For example:

I saw no temple in it,
for the Lord God the Almighty
and the Lamb are its temple
” (Rev 21:22)

In contrast, the three angels cry out “with a loud voice … worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters” (Rev 14:7). We can trust “the Lord God,” for He is Almighty:

Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28)

DRAGON

The article on Revelation 13:1-2 identified the dragon in 13:2 as the Roman Empire, but in the current verse, it may be more appropriate to understand the dragon as Satan, as he is identified in Rev 12:9.

The Loud Cry of Revelation 18 causes the darkness of the fifth plague.

SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE

PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE

THE LOUD CRY

In Revelation 18, an angel with great authority descends from heaven and illuminates the earth with his glory. He cries out with a mighty voice:

Fallen, fallen is Babylon.”

This is not a literal angel, but a message proclaimed on earth by God’s people through the power of the Holy Spirit. Because of the power by which the Revelation 18-message will be given, this article refers to it as the loud cry.

THE FIFTH PLAGUE

The fifth plague-angel pours his bowl out on “the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened” (Rev 16:10). The throne of the beast has been identified in a previous article as a Cghristian religious authority

Both the fifth plague and the loud cry, therefore, attack the beast’s authority. The purpose of the current article is to show that these two are the same.

THE LOUD CRY WILL BE HEARD DURING THE PLAGUES.

The loud cry will be proclaimed before the seventh plague because:
The seventh plague destroys Babylon (Rev 16:19) and

the loud cry places her destruction in the future (Rev 18:8-10, 15, 21).

The loud cry will be later in time than the three angels of Rev 14:7-11 because:
(A) The loud cry is given with more power than the three angels (e.g., Rev 18:1) and
(B) There is no call to repentance in the loud cry. (In other words, the time for repentance has passed.)

The loud cry will be heard during the seven last plagues because:
(A) There is no repentance in both the loud cry or the plagues (cf. Rev 16:9, 11) and
(B) Revelation 15 is the point in history when the work of the three angels of Rev 14 will cease and the plagues begin, and because the loud cry is heard later than the three angels. To explain:

The three angels of Rev 14 will give their warning message while the image of the beast is persecuting God’s people (Rev 14:9).

Revelation 15 represents a point in history when every person has made his or her final decision to worship the beast (Rev 14:9) or God (Rev 14:7). For that reason, at that point in time, the warning of the three angels of Rev 14 will cease. It will have has no further purpose.

But that is also the point in time when the command is given to pour out the plagues (Rev 16:1).)

THE LOUD CRY WILL BE HEARD DURING THE FIFTH PLAGUE.

The loud cry will be heard during the fifth plague because:

(A) The loud cry calls God’s people out of Babylon so that they would not receive her plagues (Rev 18:4), and the sixth and seventh plagues are particularly the plagues on Babylon (Rev 16:12, 19). My people,” therefore, come out of her before the sixth plague.

(B) The contrast between the darkness in the beast’s kingdom in the fifth plague (Rev 16:10) and the bright light of the loud cry (Rev 18:1) implies that the illumination of the whole earth by the angel in Revelation 18 causes the darkness on the kingdom of the beast.

INTERPRETATION

Through the loud cry, the Holy Spirit will intensify the message of the three angel of Revelation 14 and, during the fifth plague, convince the peoples of the world that the light from false Christianity is actually spiritual darkness. 

– END OF SUMMARY – 

THE THREE MESSAGES OF REVELATION 18

In Rev 18:1-2, John saw an angel:

Having GREAT AUTHORITY,
and the EARTH WAS ILLUMINED with his glory.”

The angel cried out with a “mighty voice:”

“Fallen, FALLEN IS BABYLON THE GREAT!
She has become a dwelling place of demons.”

Because of the angel’s “mighty voice,” this article refers to it as the loud cry. 

Babylon is explained in Reve 17. She represents the religious system that has existed for all of human history; corrupting people (Rev 17:2) and reigning over kings (Rev 17:2, 3, 10, 18).

After John saw the angel, he heard “another voice from heaven” (Rev 18:4).  This possibly is God Himself, for the voice says: Come out of her, MY people.”    

Later in Revelation 18, a “strong angel” (Rev 18:21) illustrates how sudden Babylon’s fall will be. There are, therefore, three messages recorded in Revelation 18.

Just like the leaders of the seven churches are called angels (Rev 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14), and just like the three angel-messages of Revelation 14, these are not literal angels or a literal voice from heaven, but messages proclaimed on earth by God’s people, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

THE FIFTH PLAGUE CAUSES DARKNESS.

After the beast’s deadly wound heals,

The whole earth … followed after the beast …
they worshiped the beast, saying, …
‘Who is able to wage war with him?’

(Rev 13:3, 4)

But the plagues weaken this powerful beast. The first four plagues target specifically the beast’s followers and their environment (see First Four Plagues). The fifth plague attacks the core of the beast’s kingdom, namely, “the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened” (Rev 16:10). The throne of the beast is a symbol of its authority. In other words, in the fifth plague, the beast suffers a great loss of authority. A previous article identified its authority as Christian religious authority.   

PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE

Both the fifth plague and the loud cry attack the beast’s authority. The purpose of the current article is to show that these two are the same. In other words, the darkness of the fifth plague is caused by the illumination of the powerful loud cry.

THE LOUD CRY PRECEDES THE SEVENTH PLAGUE.

The loud cry precedes the seventh plague because the seventh plague destroys Babylon (Rev 16:19), while Revelation 18 presents the destruction of Babylon as in the future. This is clear from the future verb tenses used when referring to her destruction:

Her plagues will come” (Rev 18:8).
She will be burned up” (Rev 18:9).
The kings “will weep” (Rev 18:10).
The merchants “will stand at a distance” (Rev 18:15).
So will” Babylon be thrown down (Rev 18:21). 

THE LOUD CRY WILL BE HEARD DURING THE PLAGUES.

Both the mighty angel of Revelation 18 and the second of the three angel messages in Revelation 14 are worldwide (Rev 14:6; 18:1) and announce that “Babylon is fallen” (Rev 14:8; 18:2).

THE LOUD CRY IS LATER THAN THE THREE ANGELS.

For two reasons, the loud cry will be later in time than the three angels of Rev 14:7-11. Firstly, the message of Revelation 18 is given with more power and more detail:

Rev 14:8 simply reads “And another angel, a second one, followed, saying.” The angel in Rev 18, in contrast, has “great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory.” “He cried out with a mighty voice” (Rev 18:1-2). 

The angel in Revelation 18 also expands on the causes and consequences of Babylon’s fall (Rev 18:2-3).

Secondly, there is no call to repentance in the loud cry. The three angels in Revelation 14 encourage the people to worship the Creator (Rev 14:7), rather than the Beast and its image (Rev 14:9). But Revelation 18 has no call to repentance. It is a message for God’s people only: “Come out of her, my people” (Rev 18:4). This means that the time for repentance has passed.

The message of Revelation 18 may be the final climax of the message of the three angels.

THE LOUD CRY IS DURING THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES.

Since the loud cry is later than the three angels, the loud cry must be during the seven last plagues. This is argued as follows:

The purpose of the three angels of Revelation 14 is to warn people against the mark of the beast (e.g., Rev 14:9). Therefore, they will give their warning message while the image of the beast is persecuting God’s people.

When every person has made his or her final decision to worship either the beast (Rev 14:9) or God (Rev 14:7) and has been marked; either with the mark of the beast or the seal of God (14:1), the warning of the three angels has no further purpose and will cease. That point in time is represented by the “victorious” people in Rev 15:2 and the temple closing in Rev 15:8. This means that, after this point in time, nobody will be saved. That is when the command is given to pour out the plagues (Rev 16:1).

Revelation 15, therefore, is the point in history when the message of the three angels stops and the seven last plagues begin.  Since the loud cry is later than the three angels, the loud cry must be later than Revelation 15. The loud cry, therefore, will be heard during the seven last plagues.

Further support for the proposal that the loud cry is proclaimed during the plagues is that there is no call to repentance in either the plagues or in Revelation 18.

THE LOUD CRY IS DURING THE FIFTH PLAGUE.

However, it is possible to be more specific, namely that the mighty angel of Revelation 18 proclaims his message during the fifth plague. This is justified as follows:

DARKNESS VERSUS LIGHT

Firstly, the contrast between the darkness in the beast’s kingdom in the fifth plague and the illumination of the whole world by the glory of the mighty angel of Revelation 18:1 implies a connection.   

HER PLAGUES

Secondly, in Revelation 18, God’s people are called out of Babylon so that they would not receive her plagues (Rev 18:4), and the sixth and seventh are particularly Babylon’s plagues. We see this in the following:

(a) The first five plagues are modeled on the plagues of Egypt, but the sixth plague is modeled on the events around the fall of ancient Babylon. (In the fall of ancient literal Babylon the waters literally dried up and king Cyrus literally came from the east.)

(b) Babylon is destroyed in the seventh plague. It reads, “Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath” (Rev 16:19). When God remembers something, it does not mean that He previously forgot. It means that He acts. In this case, Rev 16:19 tells us what He does, namely “to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.

If “her plagues” (Rev 18:4, 8) are understood as specifically the sixth and seventh plagues, then the call in Revelation 18 goes out just before these two plagues and therefore could be the fifth plague.

CONCLUSION

The fifth plague is the proclamation of the messages of Revelation 18, when the Holy Spirit will work powerfully to convince the peoples of the world that the light from their system of worship is actually spiritual darkness. It becomes clear that the despised and persecuted minority ‘sect’ actually is God’s true people. 

In Revelation 11 we note a similar recovery of God’s people, when the two witnesses come to life, after being dead for 3½ days, “and great fear fell upon those who were watching them” (Rev 11:11).

The fifth plague is followed by the sixth, where the peoples of the world turn their backs on Babylon, followed by the complete destruction of Babylon by the kings of the earth (Rev 17:16) in the seventh plague (Rev 16:19).

ARTICLES ON THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES

Introduction – Revelation 15

The first four plagues
  Must not be interpreted individually
 – Target the earth, sea, waters and sun, but the people do not repent.

The Fifth Plague
The Throne of the Beast is Christian Religious Authority.

  The Light of the Mighty Angel of Rev 18 causes the darkness.
  The Roman Empire gave to the Church is throne and power.

The Sixth Plague
The Great River, the Euphrates, dries up.
The Kings from the East are Christ and His angels.

  Armageddon is not a literal place but the Day of the Lord.
  Does “coming like a thief” (rEV 16:15) support a secret rapture?
  Why the Euphrates has to dry up to prepare the way for the kings
  Summary of these articles & conclusions

The Seventh Plague culminates in the return of Christ.

Purpose of the Plagues
To show that God judges perfectly

  Why is it necessary to show that God judges perfectly?