QUESTION: (Rev. 13: 14,15) Is it true that the WT teaches that the wild beast that received the sword-stroke was the League of Nations? —and that the healed beast was/is the revived League now known as the U.N.? This is how I always interpreted their teaching. To me this makes sense when looking back at how they tried to push the League through, but it failed at that time and in a sense received a sword-stroke, -presumably the sword-stroke coming from Jesus or whom?…
Most of Jehovah’s Witnesses probably do not realize that the Watchtower actually teaches that there are two separate, symbolic, seven-headed wild beasts that emerge from an abyss.
But as regards the head of the beast that receives what appears to be a fatal wound and then “miraculously” revives, no; that beast, described in the 13th chapter of Revelation is said to represent the leading nation of the political system at the time Christ begins ruling in his Kingdom. Here is what the Watchtower has put to print in their Revelation, Grand Climax (1988) publication:
Early in the Lord’s day, calamity strikes the wild beast. John reports: “And I saw one of its heads as though slaughtered to death, but its death-stroke got healed, and all the earth followed the wild beast with admiration.”…..What was the death stroke? Later, it is called a sword stroke, and a sword is a symbol of warfare. This sword stroke, administered early in the Lord’s day, must relate to the first world war, which devastated and drained Satan’s political wild beast….For the dominant seventh head of the wild beast, that war was a major disaster. Along with other European nations, Britain lost its young men in traumatic numbers. In one battle alone, the Battle of the River Somme in 1916, there were 420,000 British casualties along with some 194,000 French and 440,000 German —more than 1,000,000 casualties! Economically, too, Britain —together with the rest of Europe— was shattered. The huge British Empire staggered under the blow and never fully recovered. Indeed, that war, with 28 leading nations participating, sent the entire world reeling as if by a deathblow. On August 4, 1979, just 65 years after the outbreak of World War I, The Economist, of London, England, commented: “In 1914 the world lost a coherence which it has not managed to recapture since.” (Outtakes from pages 13-15 on page 190. Click here for online reference)
As for the beast emerging from the abyss, (as described in the 11th chapter) the abyss is said to represent the symbolic sea of mankind, since elsewhere the Scriptures liken the depths of the sea to a deep abyss. Here is what is stated in a footnote (Click here scroll to bottom)
The “abyss” (Greek, aʹbys·sos; Hebrew, tehohmʹ) refers symbolically to a place of inactivity. (See Revelation 9:2.) In a literal sense, however, it can also refer to the vast sea. The Hebrew word is often translated “watery deep.” (Psalm 71:20; 106:9; Jonah 2:5) Thus, “the wild beast that ascends out of the abyss” can be identified with the “wild beast ascending out of the sea.”
However, the seven-headed, scarlet-colored beast that emerges from the abyss is a different beast and it supposedly arises from a different abyss. Supposedly, the beast that goes into the abyss was the League of Nations, which was disbanded with the outbreak of the Second World War. And the beast emerged from the abyss in the form of the United Nations after the war ended.
The Watchtower touts its prophetic prowess over the fact that while WWII was still raging Nathan Knorr gave a public address predicting that the League would be reformed. Here is an outtake from the December 1st, 1971, Watchtower Magazine:
Seemingly, the beastly Eighth World Power was stirring down there in the “abyss” and scheming to come up for international worship. Jehovah God, by his holy spirit and through his prophetic Word, alerted his people to this fact. Consequently, on Sunday, September 20, 1942, on the concluding day of the “New World Theocratic Assembly” at the key city of Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A., the president of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society delivered the public address, “Peace—Can It Last?” This speech, which was carried by telephone and radio facilities to fifty-one cities in the United States and was presented to simultaneous assemblies in North and South America, Europe, Africa and Hawaii, referred to Revelation 17:7, 8 and declared that World War II would end and be succeeded by a peace in which the scarlet-colored wild beast, the international organization for world peace and security, would come up out of the “abyss.” Thereafter this “abomination of desolation” would operate until Jehovah God destroyed it by his reigning King Jesus Christ.
While it may seem impressive that the Watchtower seemed to divine the future, the folly of the Watchtower’s interpretation is easily exposed by this simple truth: The emergence of both beasts (in reality there is only one) bring about a situation whereby those who admire the beast receive the immutable sentence of everlasting death. That is what the mark of the beast signifies; namely, that a person is marked for eternal oblivion for choosing to pay homage to the Devil’s monstrosity instead of Christ.
Here is what the Scriptures state regarding the beast that revives from its mortal head wound: “And all those who dwell on the earth will worship it. From the founding of the world, not one of their names has been written in the scroll of life of the Lamb who was slaughtered.” —Revelation 13:8
Here is what the Scriptures state in regards to the scarlet beast: “The wild beast that you saw was, but is not, and yet is about to ascend out of the abyss, and it is to go off into destruction. And the inhabitants of the earth—those whose names have not been written in the scroll of life from the founding of the world—will be amazed when they see how the wild beast was, but is not, and yet will be present.” —Revelation 17:8
The Watchtower is well aware of this similarity and so have gone on record stating that there are two different starting dates for the same thing. Here is what is stated in the Grand Climax book on
Mankind has been put under compulsion to accept the mark of the wild beast, with the intent that “nobody might be able to buy or sell except a person having the mark, the name of the wild beast or the number of its name.” (Revelation 13:16, 17) But there is a price to pay for this! Jehovah regards those who accept the mark as being stricken with “a hurtful and malignant ulcer.” Since 1922 they have been marked in public as having rejected the living God.
Now, here is what is stated in the October 1st, 1983, Watchtower:
That symbolic “wild beast” was known at first as the League of Nations. It descended into the abyss of inaction during World War II of the years 1939-45 and then ascended out of the abyss in the form of the United Nations after that war. So since 1945 a perilous situation prevails that might affect the seeker after life eternal on a Paradise earth. He may be deceived into taking a course that will disqualify him for having his name written on “the scroll of life.” Hence, we now need to exercise “the intelligence that has wisdom” in our attitude toward the symbolic “wild beast.”—Revelation 17:9.
Obviously, the Watchtower is faced with an insurmountable problem. Whether the judgment began in 1922 or 1945, or both, as the WT suggests, can any of Jehovah’s Witnesses coherently explain how people who have refused the mark have been prevented from buying and selling? Has the United Nations initiated a pogrom against those who will not worship it? Have any of God’s people been executed for not bowing to the image of the beast? Exactly how does the United Nations coerce mankind to obey it anyway? The fact is, the UN is pretty impotent. It is often described as a “paper tiger” because it is powerless to enforce its own edicts.
Lastly, if people of the world have already received the mark of permanent doom, why do Jehovah’s Witnesses bother to preach to them? And if their names have already been erased from the book of life, how is it possible for millions of people of Satan’s world to have become Jehovah’s Witnesses?
The bottom line is, the beast has not received the mortal head wound yet. Nor has the image of the beast come to life. (Has the beast received the fatal head wound?)
I think of the United Nations in its present form as a placeholder, because in all likelihood in the post-crash world the UN will become the eighth king. It will become the world government its creators envisioned –wielding incontestable authority over all nations. In the post-crash world, the money we now use will not exist. It is conceivable that a universal crypto-currency will be imposed by a newly-fashioned central bank of the United Nations, so that unless persons make some sort of spiritually-compromising oath of loyalty that will be locked out of the system —unable to buy or sell.
The future is nearly upon us.