REVELATION 13Revelation of Jesus | Revelation of John
THE DEADLY WOUND HEALED
“I saw one of his heads as if it was wounded to death, and his deadly wound was healed; and all the world marveled after the beast.” (Revelation 13:3). “He [the second beast] causes the earth and those who dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed” (Revelation 13:12). “He [the second beast] deceives them that dwell on the earth…saying to them...to make an image to the beast had the wound by the sword, and lived” (Revelation 13:14).
The political and military head of the Catholic Church was severely damaged during the revolutionary movements of the 18th and 19th centuries. Significantly, this coincided with the high point of God’s true church (the Philadelphia era, see chapter 3). However, “his deadly wound was healed”— the Catholic Church would regain its political and military power. This began even as the blows were still falling. “Even during those years when Napoleon was ill-treating Pius VII and keeping him prisoner, Catholicism in France was reviving and expanding day by day. Numerous religious congregations came to life again and expanded rapidly.” A major turning point took place in 1929 when Benito Mussolini, the dictator of Italy, signed a concordat which granted the pope full authority over the State of Vatican City. The Catholic Church was now legally an international political entity, a status it had lost in 1870 when the Papal Territories were absorbed by Italy and the Pope became a “prisoner of the Vatican.” During the twentieth century the influence and reputation of the Papacy grew rapidly, helped by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). This influence was recognized when President Ronald Reagan appointed an ambassador to Vatican City in 1984.
One of the most stunning proofs that the deadly wound of the Papacy has been healed is shown by the collapse of communism through the influence of Pope John Paul II. In 1978, Cardinal Wojtyla was elected pope as John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope in 455 years, and at age 58, one of the youngest. Within a year of his election he made a dramatic visit to his homeland Poland. A student, describing its impact, said “We saw each other for the first time after decades of communism. We saw we were united. There were millions like us. We discovered community, solidarity and power.” The trip was the beginning of the Solidarity Movement. John Paul now had a world stage on which to do battle and the Vatican became “a beehive of anti-Communist sedition.”
The Solidarity Movement was facing a military crackdown in Poland in June, 1982 when Pope John Paul II had a secret meeting with President Ronald Reagan at the Vatican. They were convinced that a free, non-communist Poland would be a dagger to the heart of the Soviet Empire; and if Poland became democratic, other East European states would follow. Tons of equipment were smuggled into Poland via channels established by priests and American agents. Money for the banned union came from CIA funds, secret accounts in the Vatican and Western trade unions. “The informal secret alliance between the Holy See and the administration of President Ronald Reagan hastened the most profound political change of the age. Both CIA director Casey and Ronald Reagan believed that there was a potential third superpower in the world—the twenty-block-square Vatican city-state—and that its monarch, Pope John Paul II, had at his command a remarkable arsenal of unconventional weaponry that might tip the balance in the cold war…the Pope would thereafter receive virtually every relevant scrap of information the CIA possessed, not only on Poland, but on other matters of importance to Wojtyla and the Holy See.” The result of this “Holy Alliance” was the fall of communism in Poland, and from there the other nations of the Soviet Empire fell like dominoes.
This example has been given a fair bit of attention because the healing of the deadly wound paves the way for the development of the final persecuting power, Babylon, which is described in chapters 16-19. Babylon will exercise universal authority, like the medieval papacy, but will not be limited to the nations of Europe, or to a single organizational entity. “It was given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them. And power was given him over all tribes, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:7,8). In this future manifestation the beast will have a powerful ally to promote and enforce its program, one who was clearly prophesied nearly two thousand years ago under the symbol of the beast from the earth with two horns like a lamb.
Continue to next section: 13:11,12 THE BEAST FROM THE EARTH