The Beast’s fatal wound is its sixth head. (Rev 13:3-4)

PURPOSE

John saw a Beast coming out of the sea. It had “ten horns and seven heads” (Rev 13:1). One of his seven heads was “as if it had been slain,” for it had a “fatal wound” (Rev 13:3). In other words, the other six heads were still alive. The purpose of this article is to explain what this fatal wound is and which of the seven heads was dead.

REVELATION 13:3-4

The Beast continues the Roman Empire.

The Sea Beast received its authority from the Dragon (Rev 13:2). Previous articles identified these two beasts:

In the context of Revelation 13:2, the Dragon is identified as the fourth animal in Daniel 7, which was identified as the Roman Empire.

The Sea Beast has been identified as the 11th horn of that fourth animal, symbolizing a world power that:

        • Came into existence after the Roman Empire fragmented into many kingdoms,
        • Inherited the authority of the Roman Empire (cf. Rev 13:2), and
        • Therefore, became more powerful than the kingdoms in the territory previously ruled by the Roman Empire (Dan 7:20).

The Fatal Wound killed the Beast.

A “fatal wound” is a wound that kills. In other words, the Beast was dead. Therefore, when the wound is healed, it is said that the Beast “has come to life” (Rev 13:12, 14). That same expression is also used for Christ’s resurrection (Rev 2:8) and the resurrection of God’s people when Christ returns (Rev 20:4).

It was only a temporary death.

But the entire Beast did not die; only “one of his heads” was “slain” with this fatal wound (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 whole world worshiped the Beast.

“The whole earth … worshiped the beast” (Rev 13:3-4). This does not mean that the world thought that the Beast is God or a god. The Greek word that is translated as “worshiped” (proskuneó) simply means to bow down before a superior. In the current verse, people proskuneó the Beast as a mighty king, for they say:

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

For a discussion of proskuneó, see – Why do we worship Jesus?

They also “worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast” (Rev 13:4). Since the Dragon symbolizes the Roman Empire, and since the Sea Beast came into existence after the Roman Empire fragmented, that empire no longer existed when the Beast received its fatal wound. But, by worshiping (showing respect to) the Sea Beast, which is the continuation of the authority of the Dragon (Rev 13:2), the people indirectly ‘worship’ the Roman Empire.

REVELATION 17

The Scarlet Beast on which the harlot sits, as described in Revelation 17, provides a different perspective of the same Beast-power. This section interprets the Fatal Wound by showing that Revelation 17 describes and explains that same Fatal Wound as well as the healing of that wound. Revelation 17 explains what that Fatal Wound is and which of the seven heads is dead.

Describes the Beast as incapacitated.

The following indicates that, at the point in history described by Revelation 17, the Scarlet Beast has been incapacitated:

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 in the wilderness (Rev 12:6, 14), symbolizing circumstances in which it is difficult to survive. But, in Revelation 17, it is the Beast’s turn to be in the “wilderness” (Rev 17:3).

Abyss – The Beast is in the “abyss” (Rev 17:8), which symbolizes incapacity (Rev 20:3).

Diadems – In contrast to the Dragon and the Sea Beast, the Scarlet Beast has no diadems (ruler crowns) (Rev 12:3; 13:1; 17:3), implying that it does not rule.

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

This is the Fatal Wound of Revelation 13.

For the following reasons, this incapacity is the same as the fatal wound:

Firstly, for the Beast to be in an incapacitated condition must be a strange condition. Since two different chapters of Revelation describe this condition, they likely describe the same weak period.

Secondly, both the fatal wound and the abyss symbolize the inability to persecute God’s people (Rev 20:3):

For the Sea Beast to be alive means to blaspheme God and to persecute God’s people (Rev 13:5-7; cf. Dan 7:25). Therefore, for it to be dead (to have a fatal wound) means being unable to persecute.

To be in the abyss also means the inability to persecute. 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). In Revelation 17, it is the harlot Babylon who kills God’s people (Rev 17:6), but she does it through the beast.

Also describes the same healing of the Wound.

Further evidence that Revelation 17 describes the same fatal wound as 13:3 is that it describes the same healing of the wound as in Revelation 13. Revelation 17 predicts that the Beast will come up out of the abyss (Rev 17:8). The following confirms that its escape from the abyss is the healing of the wound in Rev 13:

After the Sea Beast’s “fatal wound was healed … the whole earth was amazed and followed after the Beast” (Rev 13:3).

After the Scarlet Beast has “come up out of the abyss … 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” and “wonder” are similar.
      3. In both chapters, the Beast is exalted after its recovery.
      4. And, perhaps most strikingly, in both, those who adore the Beast 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).

For these reasons, the two chapters describe the same period of incapacity, symbolized by the Beast’s fatal wound in Revelation 13 and by the Beast being in the abyss in Revelation 17.

THE SIXTH HEAD

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.”

Therefore:

The sixth head is the phase during which the Beast is in the abyss, which is the head with the fatal wound.

The seventh head follows after the fatal wound has been healed, and the entire world follows after the Beast (Rev 13:4).

The entire sixth head is dead. The sixth head or phase begins when the Beast-power is killed and ends when “his fatal wound was healed” (Rev 13:3, 12). This is confirmed by the fact that we never read that the head with the mortal wound comes to life; it is always the Beast that becomes alive (Rev 13:14).

When in history is the Sixth Head?

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

Many commentators assume that the ‘present time’ in Revelation 17 must refer to John’s own time because he had to understand what he was told. 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 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. And since he carried Joh away, he carried John to a different time.

OTHER ARTICLES

Revelation’s Sea Beast is Daniel’s 11th horn.

PURPOSE

This article identifies the Sea Beast by analyzing Rev 13:1-2. It assumes that the previous article, which identifies the Dragon as the Roman Empire, has been read. That article contains a high-level overview of Daniel 7 and a general discussion of the seven-headed beasts of Revelation that provide context for the current article.

Revelation 13:1-2 – A brief overview

1. And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore.
Then I (John) saw a beast coming up out of the sea,
having ten horns and seven heads,
and on his horns were ten diadems,
and on his heads were blasphemous names.

2. And the beast which I saw was like a leopard,
and his feet were like those of a bear,
and his mouth like the mouth of a lion.
And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.

John first describes the horns and heads and then the beast’s body. Perhaps, as the beast rose from the sea, John first saw the horns, then the heads, and then the body.

“Diadems” is an untranslated Greek word, meaning crowns of rulers, in contrast to the victory crowns of the Olympics [stephanoi] as in, for example, “the crown (stephanos) of life” (Rev 2:10).

The beast received its “power … throne and great authority” from the dragon (Rev 13:2). Another article identifies the Beast’s throne.

Who stood on the sand?

According to some older translations, such as the King James, John himself stood on the sand of the seashore (Rev 13:1). However, the earliest manuscripts of Revelation read “he,” which would refer to the dragon mentioned in the previous verse (Rev 12:17). Therefore, in modern translations, the dragon stood on the sand. Such a translation also fits the storyline better:

In Revelation 13, the Dragon, the Sea Beast, and the Land Beast work together (e.g., Rev 13:4; 13:11-12). If it is the Dragon who stood on the sand of the seashore, then it tells us how the three came together:

In Revelation 12, after the Earth had come to the protection of the woman against the Dragon, the Dragon “went off to make war with the rest of her children” (Rev 12:17). It goes to the shore of the sea to secure reinforcements. From the vantage point of the “seashore,” it is first joined by the beast from the sea (Rev 13:1) and later by a beast from the earth (Rev 13:11).

DANIEL’S 11th HORN

The Sea Beast is Daniel’s 11th horn.

Using animals as symbols, Daniel 7 describes four successive ‘worldwide’ kingdoms. The fourth has been identified as the Roman Empire. (See – Daniel’s Fourth Beast) For the following reasons, the Sea Beast is the 11th horn of Daniel 7:

(A) It is part of Daniel’s kingdoms.

The strong allusions to the animals of Daniel 7 in the description of the Sea Beast (Rev 13:1-2) indicate that it is part of the kingdoms in that chapter:

1) Both the Sea Beast and the animals in Daniel 7 come up out of the sea (Dan 7:3).

2) In the description of the Sea Beast (Rev 13:2), four animals are mentioned, and there are also four animals in Daniel 7.

3) The Sea Beast has characteristics of three animals (a lion, a bear, and a leopard) (Rev 13:2) and these are explicitly the first three animals in Daniel 7 (Dan 7:4-6).

4) The Sea Beast has the same number of heads and horns as the four animals of Daniel 7 have in total, namely, 7 heads and 10 horns (Rev 13:1). (See – Overview the Daniel 7 articles)

These allusions are perhaps the strongest allusions to the Old Testament one would find anywhere in the Book of Revelation. They are not a coincidence but imply that the Sea Beast is part of and provides additional information about Daniel’s animals.

(B) It exists in the time of the horns.

As stated, the many horns that grow out of Daniel’s fourth animal (Dan 7:7, 24) symbolize the kingdoms into which that animal (the Roman Empire) fragmented in the fifth and later centuries. They exist, therefore, after that fourth animal has disintegrated.

The previous article has concluded that the Dragon is the fourth kingdom in Daniel, namely, the Roman Empire. Since the Sea Beast receives its power and authority from the Dragon (Rev 13:2), it receives its power and authority from Daniel’s fourth kingdom, meaning that the Sea Beast exists later than that fourth kingdom, namely, in the time on the horns growing out of it.

The Sea Beast has a body like a leopard, feet like a bear, and a mouth like a lion, These are the other three animals in Daniel 7. So, in fact, the Sea Beast inherited something from each of the four animals of Daniel 7. It must, therefore, exist AFTER them, namely, in the time of the horns.

(C) It has crowns on its horns.

While the Dragon has diadems (ruler crowns) on its heads, the sea beast has diadems on its horns (Rev 12:3; 13:1). The allusions to Daniel 7, as listed above, require us to interpret these crowns in terms of Daniel 7. In that chapter, there first are four animals with seven heads in total. After the last animal follows ten horns. Therefore:

The crowns on the heads of the Dragon imply that it exists during the time of the heads in Daniel 7. Since the seven heads are kingdoms and subdivisions of kingdoms, in means that the Dragon exists during the time of the four kingdoms. As already stated, the Dragon is Daniel’s fourth kingdom.

The crowns on the horns of the Sea Beast mean that it exists during the time of the horns of Daniel 7.

(D) It continues Daniel’s fourth kingdom.

In Daniel 7, the 11th horn grows out of the fourth animal. This means that the 11th horn is a continuation of that fourth animal.

The same applies to the Sea Beast. The previous article identified the Dragon as Daniel’s fourth animal; the Roman Empire. Since the Dragon gives the Sea Beast its power and authority (Rev 13:2), the Sea Beast is also a continuation of the authority of Daniel’s fourth animal.

(E) Like the 11th horn, it is the Antichrist.

Both the 11th horn and the Sea Beast are God’s main enemy on earth and both exist until Christ returns:

In Daniel 7, the main character is the 11th horn. It grows to become larger than all the other horns (Dan 7:20, 24). It is God’s main enemy on Earth. It will become so important that a court will sit in heaven to judge between it and God’s people (Dan 7:26, 9-11, 14), and it will only be destroyed when Christ returns (Dan 7:26-27). The 11th horn, therefore, begins to exist when the Roman Empire fragments and continues to exist until Christ returns.

In Revelation, God’s main enemy is the Sea Beast. In the end-time crisis, the Mark of the Beast, which is the Sea Beast, is put on the foreheads of God’s enemies. This mark is the name of the Sea Beast or the number of his name (Rev 13:16-17).

Therefore, both the 11th horn and the Sea Beast: 

      • Exist during the end-time crisis.
      • Blaspheme God (Dan 7:8, 11, 20; Rev 13:5-6).
      • Overpower the saints (Dan 7:21, 25; Rev 13:7).
      • Persecute the saints for “a time, times, and half a time” (Dan 7:25; Rev 13:5). [As discussed elsewhere, the 42 months (Rev 13:5) is the same as the “time, times and a half.” (“A time, times, and half a time” = 3½ times or years = 42 months.)]
      • Are destroyed when Christ returns (Dan 7:26-27, 11; Rev 19:11, 20).

These similarities identify them as one and the same entity.

CONCLUSIONS

For the reasons above, the Sea Beast and Daniel’s 11th horn symbolize the same world power. Revelation is built on the foundation of the book of Daniel and explains Daniel’s symbols. The same applies to Daniel’s Antichrist-horn. Revelation incorporates it into its visions but provides additional information about it. The Antichrist in Daniel is also the Antichrist in Revelation.

It is a Human Organization

The beast comes out of the sea (Rev 13:1). The sea is equivalent to “the earth” (Dan 7:2, 17), symbolizing the people of the world. In other words, the animals in Daniel are organizations of the people of the world. By implication, the sea in Revelation 13:1 also represents the peoples of the world and the Sea Beast is another organization of the people of the world.

It began to exist after the Roman Empire fragmented.

As stated, Daniel’s fourth animal is the Roman Empire (See Daniel’s animals). The 11 horns are the kingdoms into which the Roman Empire fragmented from the fifth century. The 11th was the last of the horns to come into existence. Since the Sea Beast is the 11th horn, it began to exist after the Roman Empire fragmented. Rev 13:1-2, describing the Sea Beast coming up out of the sea, is the beginning of its existence. 

It continues the Authority of the Roman Empire.

The Sea Beast is different from the other horns. In Revelation, the Dragon symbolizes the Roman Empire, and the Dragon gave the Sea Beast its power and great authority (Rev 13:2). The Sea Beast, therefore, is uniquely the continuation of the authority of the Roman Empire.

It explains Daniel’s fourth animal.

It was stated above that Revelations’ seven-headed beasts provide more information about the beasts in Daniel 7. We have now seen that the Dragon is Daniel’s fourth animal and that the Sea Beast is the 11th horn that grew out of Daniel’s fourth animal. So, Revelations’ seven-headed beasts provide additional information specifically about Daniel’s fourth beast.

This is only a preliminary identification of the beast based on the first two verses of Revelation 13. The beast is identified more specifically in one of the further articles in this series.

HEADS AND HORNS

A common mistake by commentators is to assume that the seven heads and ten horns in Revelation are the same as the seven heads and ten horns in Daniel. They are not the same. For example:

Revelation’s horns are not the same as Daniel’s.

      1. In Daniel, there really are 11 horns; not 10.
      2. In Daniel, the 11th horn is the main character and the Antichrist. In Revelation, there is no such 11th horn.
      3. In Daniel, the 11th horn, as it came up, uproots three of the others (Dan 7:8). In Revelation, the ten horns are united (Rev 17:12-13).
      4. While the ten horns in Daniel 7 symbolize the kingdoms into which the Roman Empire fragmented, the ten horns in Revelation are limited to the end-time. They will, for example, make an end to the harlot (Rev 17:16), which symbolizes false religion or false Christianity.
      5. The ten horns in Revelation are described in Revelation 17:12-17 and there is no similarity with the ten horns in Daniel 7.

Revelation’s heads are not the same as Daniel’s.

In Revelation, the sixth head exists after five “have fallen” (Rev 17:10). In Daniel, the sixth head exists at the same time as the previous three heads. To explain:

In Daniel, we first have the lion with one head, then the bear with one head, and then the leopard with four heads. The sixth head, therefore, is the fourth head of the leopard. But the four heads of the leopard symbolize the four parts of the Greek Empire, and they existed simultaneously. The last one does not exist after the others have fallen.

Revelation gives new meanings to Old images.

Revelation takes things from the Old Testament but gives them new meanings. For example, in the Old Testament, the ancient city of Babylon was built on the banks of the river Euphrates. In Revelation, Babylon becomes the name for the Harlot and the Euphrates becomes “the waters which you saw where the harlot sits,” symbolizing “peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues” (Rev 17:15).

In the same way, the heads and horns in Daniel receive different meanings in the book of Revelation:

In Daniel 7, the Seven Heads represented specific kingdoms and parts of kingdoms. The Ten Horns are the various nations into which the Roman Empire fragmented. See, the Fall of Rome.

In Revelation, the heads and horns have lost their original literal historic meaning and become symbols:

The Seven Heads symbolize the seven phases of history from the time of Babylon until Christ’s Return.

The Ten Horns symbolize the end-time coalition of the kingdoms of the world (Rev 17:12-13). Contrary to the typical artist’s representation of these beasts, all ten horns are on the seventh and final head.


OTHER ARTICLES