The Wound of the Beast in the Tribulation -- By: Gregory H. Harris

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 156:624 (Oct 1999)
Article: The Wound of the Beast in the Tribulation
Author: Gregory H. Harris


The Wound of the Beast in the Tribulation

Gregory H. Harris

Perhaps no other item in the Book of Revelation has caused more debate than the wound of the beast and the healing of that wound (Rev. 13:3, 12). One of the primary considerations is whether John intended this to be viewed as a miracle. This event is significant because it will cause the world at large to worship the beast, who is considered by most evangelical commentators to be the Antichrist (vv. 4, 12). Later, when the image of the beast will be erected, worship of it will be required as well (v. 15; cf. 19:20). This statue will be built in honor of “the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life” (13:14).

Who Is the Beast Who Will Receive a Wound?

The Nero Redivivus View

Several views on the identity of the beast have been suggested by expositors. The historical view holds that John and the early church expected an evil Roman Caesar to return to life, with most people identifying this person as Nero. This view is commonly referred to as the Nero Redivivus (“the revived Nero”) theory.1 Kiddle states, “These words (in Rev. 13:3) allude as plainly as may be to a tradition which had arisen concerning the death of Nero.”2 C. Anderson Scott is even more adamant: “It is one of the

* Gregory H. Harris is Assistant Professor of Bible Exposition, Southeastern Baptist Theological College, Wake Forest, North Carolina.

points in the interpretation of the Apocalypse on which most modern scholars are agreed, that in this legend of ‘Nero redivivus’ we are to find the explanation of the ‘wounded head’ of 13:3.”3 E. F. Scott, Barclay, and Beckwith are of the same opinion.4 Barclay adds, “This is. .. the Antichrist whom John expected was the resurrected Nero himself.”5 Preston and Hanson hold to the Nero Redivivus view as well, noting that “in our day we have seen millions of civilised [sic] Europeans giving whole-hearted allegiance to the god of the Germans, incarnate in Adolf Hitler, propagated b...

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