Revelation 13 has the famous “Beast”. An interesting aspect of the Beast is that the Beast undergoes a mortal wound and then lives. While the image is relatively clear, the referent (who is the Beast and what does it mean it was killed and resurrected) has been a matter of some debate. Here are a few possibilities:
The Devil’s defeat at Christ’s Cross and Resurrection:
The wound appeared to be fatal, and, indeed, it really was. Nevertheless, the devil’s continued activity through his agents makes it appear to John as though he has overcome the mortal blow dealt him at Christ’s death and resurrection. Despite defeat, the devil and his forces continue to exist
G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 688.
The City of Man set up against the City of God:
Or perhaps no historical allusion is intended and the purpose of the figure is to underscore the tremendous vitality of the beast. Though wounded, he returns with increased might. From the beginning of history the pagan state has set itself against the people of God. From the pharaohs of Egypt to the emperors of Rome it had moved steadily forward with determined purpose to devour all who refused it homage. It had survived every assault and recovered from every deadly blow. Little wonder that in the last days the whole world will be drawn after27 the beast in wonder and amazement.
Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 248–249.
QUESTION—To what does the figure of the head of the beast refer?
1. It refers to the Roman Emperor Nero [Be, BNTC, ICC, NTC, Sw]. The head refers to Nero and he will return but only reincarnated as another emperor who persecutes God’s people (see 17:11) [Be, BNTC]. There was a belief that Nero would rise from the dead. It came to be known as the Nero redivivus myth. Though it proved wrong, the expectation still remains that an Antichrist like Nero will arise with even increased cruelty [NTC].
2. It refers to the pagan Roman Empire [Alf, Wal]. The Roman Empire is the head that died and will be revived in the future [Wal].
3. It refers to a future king [EC]. This king will be controlled by Satan and will closely counterfeit Christ’s death and resurrection [EC].
4. It refers to Satan himself. The wounding of Satan was Christ’s victory over Satan when Christ died and was resurrected [NIGTC].
Ronald Trail, An Exegetical Summary of Revelation 12–22, 2nd ed. (Dallas, TX: SIL International, 2008), 37–38.
I thought of that passage today when I read this news:
QAnon supporters have reportedly gathered in Dallas, Texas, in anticipation of the return of John F. Kennedy Jr., who they believe will announce a 2024 presidential run alongside Donald Trump, despite being dead for 22 years—the latest crackpot claim from a movement that believes the world is run by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles.
Big if true. The passage in Revelation 13 is quite strange. What the psychological (or otherwise) relationship between the two, I do not know. But it is odd.