Q. Upon reading Revelation 13:1-3, verse 1 states the beast has “seven heads and ten crowns”. Verse 3 says that “one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” Is this “wounded to death” head an actual man’s head? I mean, how can this “beast” not look ghastly?? Seven heads? It’s like something from a sci-fi movie! Verse 2 explains that in more detail. This is a picture of the Anti-Christ, yes? If so, how can he look like this and be ever-so desirable to the nations? It sounds like he looks hideous.
A. Rev. 1:1 tells us God revealed the details of the end times to Jesus, who “sent and signified” it to John. The Greek word translated “signified” explains that much of the book is rendered in signs. Because of that, certain things are representative and not actual. We can tell when this is the case when something is impossible to reconcile with our frame of reference. This is true with the antichrist where in one instance he’s described as having seven heads and ten horns with ten crowns, in another He’s like a leopard, but with the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion (Rev. 13:1-2).
These are symbolic descriptions, not intended to portray his actual appearance. When used symbolically the number seven often denotes the divine or supernatural, and our head is where our brain, the seat of our wisdom, is housed. Ten denotes completeness and horns symbolize power, while crowns represent authority. So the anti-christ will have supernatural wisdom, and complete power and authority on Earth. This is explained in Rev. 13:7-8.
In Rev. 12:3 the dragon is also described in a similar way, but with only seven crowns (his authority is supernatural [1 John 5:19] not earthly). Rev. 12:9 tells us the dragon is Satan and Rev. 13:2 tells us the dragon (Satan) will will give the anti-Christ his power, throne, and authority.
The reference to animals can be traced to Daniel 7 where the leopard symbolized Alexander the Great, the Bear was Cyrus the Great of Persia, and the Lion was Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. This means he will have the leadership qualities of these three great Gentile emperors of the past. This is why the world will follow him, and after he pulls off his counterfeit resurrection, will even worship him as Rev. 13:8 reveals.