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The Wounded Head of the Beast

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This is Part I of a series titled “Frequent Mistakes” which you can find at my blog ShreddingTheVeil.

One frequent claim against Revelation having already been fulfilled is that Nero as the beast died and therefore could not be the beast that was revived.

We don’t know Roman history very well.  Many people make the mistake of assuming that the wounded head of the beast revived.  But, the wounded head, though one of the heads of the beast, and a representative of the beast, was not the entire beast.

Beasts were / are oppressor nations / kingdoms that preyed upon the people.  The word beast in Rev. 13:1 is “therion” and means a wild beast, a predator that preys upon and devours the young and the weak.  God used this symbol of a wild beast (lions, bears, leopards, wolves, etc.) for oppressive, parasitic kingdoms that fed off the people.

Psa 17: 9-12, David’s prayer for relief -

9 From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about.  10 They are inclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly.

11 They have now compassed us in our steps: they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth; 12 Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places. (KJV)

Ezek. 22:25-27, God’s condemnation of Israel / Jerusalem -

” There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.

26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.

27 Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.  (KJV)

Ezek. 34:8-10, God’s prophesy against the shepherds of Israel -

8 As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock;

9 Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord;

10 Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.  (KJV)

The beast of the sea in Revelation was a pagan nation, as the sea symbolized the nations that surrounded the land of Israel (Isa. 17:12; 23:11).  Many times in prophetic language, Israel was the “earth” or “land” of God’s people.  Therefore, water / sea surrounding land was a metaphor for the pagan nations surrounding Israel, and were many times the “floods” that God brought against them. (See. Deu. 13:7; 28:23; Lev. 26:19; Isa. 5:30; 59:19; Jer. 46:8; and the previous post “Heaven And Earth Have Passed Away” at my blog.)

The pagan sea beast had seven heads / kings and ten horns (lesser governors / rulers) (Rev. 13:1; 17:3).  Five of these seven kings had already fallen and “one is” (Rev. 17:10).  “One is” indicated the present ruler at the time the prophesy was spoken.

The sixth king / head was ruling over the beast nation at the time Revelation was written. That means that the beast nation existed during the lifetime of John, during the first century A.D.  The head of the beast that was going to receive the mortal wound (Rev. 13:3) was only indirectly the beast nation.  The direct attack was against one of the heads, and the one that was mortally wounded unto death.  This mortal wound almost caused the death of the beast, but the beast was healed. 

Rev. 17:8, The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit,…”  (KJV)

The ruling king / head that received the mortal wound died, but the beast / nation did not die.  The deadly wound delivered to the nation at the death of the king was healed by a successor king.  As heads of the beast nation, each king took on a beast role.

Rev. 17:11, And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.  (KJV)

Nero “was and is not”, meaning he had died.  He was the last of the Julian line of Caesars.  But, he is shown again in the eighth king / ruler.  The eighth king / Caesar of Rome was Otho.  (Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and then Vespasian)

Tacitus wrote, “Moreover, on certain days the people and soldiers, as if adding thereby to Otho’s nobility and distinction, acclaimed him as Nero Otho.” (Histories 1.78; cf. 1.13 and 1.25). Note:19 ” On the portrayal of Otho in Tacitus, Plutarch and Suetonius, see Perkins 1993 and Braun 1992.”   (1)

The Year of Four Emperors

Galba ruled for just 6 months (Rev. 17:10, “… and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.”).  (2)  Otho murdered Galba, and was proclaimed emperor by the army.  He then ruled for three months, from Jan to April AD 69.  He had been a friend to Nero, but had joined with Galba to overthrow Nero. (3), (4), (5)  That Otho was “of the seven” possibly refers to his conspiracy with Galba to overthrow Nero.

Vitellius’ army defeated that of Otho in April of AD 69.  He ruled Rome for approx. 7 months until Dec AD 69.  He had also been a companion to Nero, and signaled the type of rule he would follow by making funerary offerings to Nero and calling for Nero’s songs.  (6). He was a very cruel and gluttonous man, and soon lost support of the armies.  His army was defeated by Vespasian’s, and the senate confirmed Vespasian as emperor on Dec. 21, AD 69.  (7), (8)

Possibly in an effort to legitimize their rule in the eyes of the people by calling on the Julian line, Otho and Vitellius essentially resurrected Nero in both their accolades of him and their similar behavior.

 The point was that the death of the sixth king (Nero) almost caused the beast nation to die, and its death struggle was a wonder to all those who witnessed the civil wars that ensued.

That beast nation was Rome.  Nero died in June AD 68, committing suicide with the help of his servant, and the Roman empire was thrown into a year of civil war under the rule of four successive “heads”:  Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, followed by Vespasian.

Thus, it became the Year of Four Emperors. (9) The civil wars of the first three Caesars brought Rome into near ruin, and as a result, Vespasian broke off the war in Judea, leaving his son Titus in charge, gathered his army and marched to Rome.  He knew that if the capital city of Rome fell, then so would the empire. 

Vespasian and  his army took control of the empire in AD 69 and restored order to Rome.  Thus, the Roman beast empire received a mortal wound, nearly dying at the death of Nero, but was healed and revived under Vespasian.

The prophesy never said that the head / king that was mortally wounded would revive.  Nero, one head of the empire, was not the entire beastly empire. But, two of his successors, Otho and Vitellius both honored and ruled in Nero’s memory, in essence making a reappearance of Nero and “ascending out of the bottomless pit” (Rev. 17:8)


(1) Nero, the Beast Study Archive here

(2) Servius Sulpicius Galba from here

(3) “Otho” from Encyclopedia Britannica here

(4) Otho from Ancient History Encyclopedia here

(5) Marcus Salvius Otho from here

(6) The Life of Vitellius by Seutonius here

(7) Vitellius from Ancient History here

(8) Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus from here

(9) AD 69 Or The Year of Four Emperors here

See also the previous posts “The Beast of Revelation” and “The Whore of Babylon” at my blog ShreddingTheVeil

All bold emphasis is mine.

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    • Ephraim

      The four beast systems mentioned in Daniel were given the Dominion mandate and they were the ones that punished and controlled Judah for their sins against God. Due to the depravity of Antiochos Epiphanes, he was removed allowing the Maccabees to rule for 100 years thus cutting short the Greek rule by 100 years as well. The little horn of Daniel 7 was an extension of the Roman Empire although they did not control Judah, which was demolished in 70 AD, the little horn aka the Holy Roman Empire aka the Popish rule controlled the Christian world, located mostly in Europe and East Asia.

      The French Revolution gave a “fatal wound” to the little horn of Rome, and in 1798 Napoleon conquered Rome, took the pope captive, and put him in prison where he died. But later, because Napoleon wanted someone to crown him as emperor, he reinstated a pope in 1804. The fatal wound was thus healed.

      The sea beast of Rev 13:1 is the Papacy. The earth beast of Rev 13:11 is the banking system, started by Mayer Rothschild, and later under the Holy Alliance, the Rothschild bank has given custody of the Vatican holdings.

      You are confusing “one of the heads” of the beast as being one of the ten kings, which it is not.

      • Gina

        You are pushing the same problem most prognosticators encounter, and that is the time period of the prophesy. Rev. 1:1, “…things which must shortly come to pass…” (KJV). Rev. 22:6, “…to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.” Both the beginning of the prophesy and the end of the prophesy states that all of the things of the prophesy were to happen “shortly”. They were at hand when Christ gave the prophesy to John. And, as Christ had told his disciples that John would live to see His coming / return (John 21:22), then all of the prophesy of Revelation was going to happen in John’s lifetime.

        If you are trying to make kingdoms that rose past the 4th kingdom – the Roman empire of old – then you are pushing the prophesy beyond the time frame that Christ specified. The prophesy was about Christ’s return to that generation for the destruction of Jerusalem, and the temple; for the establishment of the Kingdom / spiritual promised land; and for the marriage of the Lamb to His church / saints.

        It was never about an ‘end of the world’ scenario. It was never about the evil banking system of the Rothschilds, nor of the anti-christ Roman pope. All of these are evil systems, and all of them will answer to God for the evil that they do, just as all of us will if we are not covered by the blood of Christ.

        Christ set up the system – the new heaven and earth covenant – under the gospel. He became our High Priest after the order Melchizedek, and He reigns now at the right hand of the Father. Done deal. He defeated Satan in AD 70. The new covenant under the gospel is how we are reconciled to the Father, and it will continue as long as there are souls who will answer that call. The process works. Why should he end it?

        • Ephraim

          Perhaps it is you having a vast misunderstanding of the Revelation. The prophecy is a historic revelation of the affairs of the Church which is now a fulfilled prophecy except for the dissolution of the Mystery, Babylon system which is occurring now.

          The statement “Rev. 1:1, “…things which must shortly come to pass” is a literal statement in that the next opened seals describe the tribulations of the Church, first in Europe and then extended to Asia Minor.

          The next statement pertaining to time, “(KJV). Rev. 22:6, “…to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.” is also literal from the standpoint that it refers back to the original statement in Rev 1:1.

          I would also like to add that you do not speak for God, God does not give you visions of understanding, and neither does God or any of His emissaries speak to you explaining the understanding of the Revelation or any other scripture. However, God does speak to certain people and one of those people has relayed to me and others, the actual meaning and understanding of the Revelation. Whether you believe that statement of not is of no concern to me. However, if you live long enough (a few years) you will witness the Kingdom of God being instilled on planet Earth with the resurrected saints of the Most High in charge of the governments under the rulership of Jesus Christ.

          My mission is to warn people with the truth, not to debate or argue.

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