The Deadly Wound of Revelation 13:3

Rev 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Rev 13:2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
Rev 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
Rev 13:4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

Even before the Reformation, students of Bible prophecy had long identified the papal power as the antichrist, and the beast from the sea of Revelation 13. So the following verse, in conjunction with verse three above, prophesied something of great interest to the diligent student of some 200 years ago:

Rev 13:5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

The 42 two months end with imprisonment and death:

Rev 13:10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

This predicted a limited reign of the papacy, which would be inflicted with a deadly wound, almost to death, after a period of 42 months of rule. This 42 months of prophetic time can be shown from scripture to be an actual period of 1260 years. See my article Time, Times, and Half a Time? for a detailed explanation. See also The 1260 years of Papal Supremacy and the 70 weeks of Daniel Diagram.

After having reached its zenith in the middle ages, the papal power went into a long period of gradual decline, and the French Revolution, which began in 1789, abruptly cast off the Catholic yoke and religion in general. This caught the attention of many Bible scholars, who began to take a hard look at the prophecy and tried to determine just when this "deadly wound" to the papacy might be expected. Here is an extract from The PROPHETIC FAITH OF OUR FATHERS, by Le Roy Edwin Froom, which illustrates one example of just how closely the date of the papal wound was calculated, some two years in advance of the event:

[pg. 741] ...

    By many voices in different lands and through various vehicles the end of the papal period was perceived as due and under way. The sudden shock of the French Revolution sent the Protestant church back to the Scriptures for the meaning. Thus in the Edinburgh Missionary Magazine for 1796 the fact was publicized that the reign of Antichrist was hastening toward its end. Note it:

    "By the general consent of prophecy, the reign of Antichrist, is now hastening to an end. The aspect of providence, for some time past, has quickened our expectation of his fall. This will pave the way for the overthrow of every system by which the empire of iniquity and error has been maintained; and this again will be succeeded by the age of righteousness and truth."[20]

VIII. BellFrance Accomplishing the Fall of Antichrist

     In the London Evangelical Magazine of 1796 appear two illuminating articles by GEORGE BELL, on the "Downfal of Anti-

20 Missionary Magazine (Edinburgh), vol. 1, p. 185.

[pg. 742]

christ," written July 24, 1795. He contends first that though man may not presumptuously inquire into God's secrets, it is our duty to seek knowledge of those things He has revealed. Then he asserts that God often overrules the actions of men to bring to pass entirely different objectives. He then comes directly to the time of the rise and fall of Antichrist, based on the internal evidence of the prophecy. First, its rise would not be until after Western Rome's division, and we are therefore "not to look for his appearance before the year 407."[21]

    1. BELIEVES ANTICHRIST AROSE ABOUT 537. Again, he would not appear until after the "subversion of the imperial government of Rome," and "this obstacle was taken out of the way in the year 476." It would appear soon thereafter, but "not instantly."[22] Bell's third point is based on the seven heads or governments, the sixth being the emperors that form falling in 476 under Augustulus. Then the Gothic kings chose Ravenna as their seat of government, but held Italy from 476 to 553 but "lost the government of Rome in the year 537."[23] So the papal was to follow the imperial. He concludes:

    "If this be a right application of events to the prophecy, then Antichrist arose about the year 537, or at farthest about the year 555. He continues 42 months, or 1260 prophetical days, that is, 1260 years, Rev. xiii.5.; consequently we may expect his fall about the year 1797, or 1813."[24]

    2. DATING THE 1260, 1290, AND 1335 PERIODS. Turning next to the evidence from Daniel, Bell alludes to the oft-repeated 1260 years, or forty-two months, or three and a half times, during which Antichrist will "scatter the power of the holy people."[25] The 1290 years "takes its date from a time of remarkable apostasy." Of this period Bell says:

    "The holy city is to be trodden under foot by the Gentiles, or Papists, who, though they are Christians in name, are Gentiles in worship and practice; worshiping angels, saints, and images, and persecuting the followers of Christ. These Gentiles take away the daily sacrifice, and set up the abomination that maketh the visible church of Christ desolate for the space of 1260 years. But this is a longer period by 30 years."[26]

21 The Evangelical Magazine, 1796 (London), vol. 4, p. 54.
22 Ibid.
23 Ibid., p. 55.
24 Ibid., p. 56.
25 Ibid.
26 Ibid., p. 57.

[pg. 743]

Then the 1335 years extend forty-five years beyond the 1290 years and seventy-five years beyond the reign of Antichrist."

    3. 1260 YEARS FROM JUSTINIAN TO REVOLUTION. The second article concentrates on the Justinian date when, after the Ostrogothic withdrawal to Ravenna, the army of Belisarius approached Rome, which opened its gates to the Roman general in December, 537; tracing the transfer of the Roman emperor to Constantinople, and then the shift of the Goths to Ravenna, Bell says the pope is left, "as it were, the governor and principal at Rome."[28] Then, logically coming to the predicted earthquake, which "signifies a revolution," and France as the tenth part of the Babylonian Citywhen "One of the ten kingdoms under the dominion of Rome would fall off, or revolt from her jurisdiction"he declares, "Have we not seen, in one of the ten kingdoms, a most astonishing revolution? Have we not also seen that kingdom fall off of the papal jurisdiction?" Bell then concludes, saying, "Have we not good ground to hope that the accomplishment of the prophecies, respecting the rising of the witnesses and the fall of antichrist, is near at hand?"[29] ...

27 Ibid.
28 Ibid., pp. 98, 99.
29 Ibid., p. 104.

Source: The PROPHETIC FAITH OF OUR FATHERS, The Historical Development of Prophetic Interpretation, by Le Roy Edwin Froom, Volume II, Pre-Reformation and Reformation Restoration, and Second Departure, published by the Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington D.C., Copyright 1948, pages 741-743.

So clear was Bible prophecy, that the fall of the papacy was anticipated by George Bell two years before it occurred, and he very nearly pinpointed the exact year based on his studies. But as impressive as that may be, he was not the first to arrive at that conclusion. Just over a century before, Drue Cressner, D.D., who became a  vicar of the Church of England, wrote:.......Article continues