Harris, Gregory R. “ The Wound of the Beast in the Tribulation”. Bibliotheca Sacra 156 (October-December 1999) pp.459-68
Gregory H. Harris, Associate Professor of Biblical Exposition at Southeastern Baptist Theological College, endeavors to show the reader through solid exegesis what the Wound of the Beast refers to. Although he reveals his own viewpoint, Harris shows different viewpoints because he wants the reader to be objective as possible in determining what possible viewpoint makes the most sense hermeneutically speaking. Harris presents a treatise that shows he has truly mastered the subject. Harris’s explanation of all the views is significant because this event described in the Book of Revelation is extremely important in Biblical Eschatology. How a person interprets Revelation is important and that is why Harris presents all the evidence and not just his own viewpoint. This writing is not polemical. He is not waging war on any particular view, nor is he insulting any particular view in which he points out. He wants people to know that this event is important because it will cause the world at large to worship the beast, who is considered by most evangelical commentators to be the Antichrist (459).
Harris poses a question when he asks, who is the Beast who will receive the wound (459)? He then presents to the reader five views that could potentially be the interpretation of this particular question and they are the following: 1.) The Nero Redivivus View, 2.)The Non Personal View, 3.) The Reincarnation View, 4.) The Revived Roman Empire View, and finally 5.) The Antichrist View.
The Nero Redivivus View, (held from the preterist viewpoint that postulates that the entire book of Revelation has already been fulfilled), states that John and the early church expected an evil Roman Caesar to return to life, which most people believe to be the emperor Nero ( 460). There are several factors that explain why so many people hold to this view. First, there was the view that Nero committed suicide with the help of the freedman. Not everyone however, believed in his death (460). They believed that during that time he faked his death and would make a triumphant return and destroy his enemies ( 460). In this sense he would be healed from a fatal wound and brought back to life (460). In response to this view, Harris postulates that this view is only a theory. He says that the fact that most Christians in that day and time who held to the view that Nero was the Beast that was mortally wounded in Revelation is understandable due to the intense persecution they went through during his reign of terror. Harris also says that this view does not adequately explain the concept of deception found in Revelation 13 (461). After all, the Antichrist will be accepted at first and Nero would never be accepted by Christians or non Christians for that matter.
The second view that Harris discusses in detail is the Non Personal View. This view states that the wound is a spiritualized reference to evil forces that persecuted the early church, despite having received a deadly blow, and that they involve no future reference (462). Harris questions this view by asking the question, how would the increase of evil promote worldwide amazement and the worship of the beast and Satan (462)?
The third view is known as the Reincarnation View and this view holds that the wounded beast refers to the reincarnation of some individual such as Nero or Judas Iscariot. Harris goes on to say that this view is different from the Nero Redivivus View because the Nero Redivivus View points to Nero being resurrected from the dead. However, it can be said that this view can not be scriptural because the Bible says that when a person dies, then the only thing that is left is judgment. Harris points out that Satan does not need a reincarnated person anyways (462).
The fourth view that Harris points out to the public is that of the Revived Roman Empire View. This view means that the great Roman Empire which fell would be revived in the end of days. Harris goes on to say that this view is supported by Scripture when Daniel 4 makes mention of Nebuchadnezzar’s vision, with the response being that after Nebuchadnezzar’s rule would come a empire stronger than his (463). Also Harris points out that Daniel’s dream of the four beasts is significant because the fourth beast is said to be a fourth kingdom, which turns out to be the revived Roman Empire. Thus the wound of death that will be healed refers to the revived Roman Empire, and not the Antichrist.
The fifth view and the final view that is mentioned is the Antichrist View. This view states that an individual that has yet to appear on the world scene will arise and will receive the wound. He will be satanically resurrected and the world will be amazed and will worship the beast (464). Harris concludes that it is indeed possible that this passage in Revelation 13 refers to an individual who will be murdered then resurrected (468). After all, Satan is the imitator of Jesus Christ. However, it is not clear whether Satan will have the power to resurrect him from the dead unless God gives him the power.
This work written by Gregory Harris gives much information concerning the different views concerning the wound of the Beast. Where he fails in this treatise is that he does not go into detail about the Antichrist. It would be important to know what other scholars think about this important view. It seemed like there was a little bias in his work, but not so much that it ruins his entire treatise. His use of Scripture to make his point was the strength of this article. It is not hard to figure out what view he holds to however. It is apparent that he holds to the Antichrist View. Overall, this work of eschatology would cause everyone that reads it to use Biblical understanding and wisdom in finding the best meaning when it comes to Revelation 13 and the wound of the Beast.
The Wound of the Beast in the Tribulation, when it is truly dissected should never lean toward an allegorical interpretation. Instead, it should be taken as literal, and in the context of Revelation 13, it refers to an individual man, (the beast out of the sea) who will receive a wound and will miraculously be resurrected. The only other plausible view is the Revived Roman Empire View, but again context is very important in Revelation 13, and with all the facts out there, it is with the utmost certainty that a individual man that has not been revealed on earth is the one who receives the wound, and not the Revived Roman Empire.