Today, there are extremes in Apocalypse interpretations. The right and the lerft, the futurists and the preterists.
Years ago, Hal Lindsay, a Protestant fundamentalist and futurist, suggested that, regarding the healed head wound of the beast in Apocalypse 13, it could mean that Antichrist could be someone like President Kennedy coming back to life. Preterism, on the other hand, suggests that the wounded and healed head of the beast means that Nero suffered a deadly stab to his throat or stomach, yet there was a rumor that he would come back from the dead.
Ok, fine, but what about a middle road interpretation? What do we mean? Well, come along.
St Hippolytus of Antiquity suggests that the kings of the beast in Apocalypse 17 are ages, Ages of sin. This makes perfect sense: Constantly, through redemptive actions of God, the fallen nature is wounded in God's Divine Plan, in both Old and New, and constantly the fallen nature returns.
God wounded the wickedness of Noah's day with the Flood, but the fall came back in Babel.
God wounded Babel by confounding the tongues and forming the Hebrew People through Abraham
But the fall came back in Egypt.
God wounded Egypt by the Exodus and Kingdom of Holy Land.
And the fall came back when the Jews became supremely unfaithful to the Old Law before the Exile.
And God wounded that Jewish Apostasy with the Exile, and brought them back to repentance and the Holy Land and temple.
But the fall came back with Antiochus and the Maccabean struggles.
And God wounded that by the Jewish victory over the Greeks, the Coming of Christ, and formation of the Church.
But the fall came back in Pagan Rome's persecutions of the Church.
And God wounded pagan Rome by Constantine and Catholic Christendom.
But now the beast, full darkness, is back today in modern times in secular messianism, atheism, relativism, hedonism and materialism, which is ithe USA, Canada, all of Europe, China, Japan, and so forth
And this head of the beast will be wounded by the imminent Minor Chastisement, where the world will almost end the world yet lead to near total repentance in most apostate Gentile Nations. Then shall Christians be reunited and a period of Peace of Our lady be granted.
But finally, as man will get lazy toward that the end of that age of peace, the fall will come back, the eighth darkness, in the Great Apostasy and Antichrist, in which secular messianism, atheism, relativism, materialism and immorality will come back again.
And God shall slay that beast eternally in the Second Coming and New Creation.
Apocalypse 17: "The Beast was and is not and will be Again":
What might this mean? Well, once again, with the beast as the fallen nature incarnated in human history, we get a profound meanng:
"The beast was and is not and will be again":
In the beginning of human history, in Noah's day, the fall [the beast] reigned in human history. How? Well, as of yet, it was unchecked in any major way. The world was not in the position of possible repentance without chastisement, since the threat of the Flood was NOT conditional.
But with the Flood, the first lethal blow to the fall was dealt, and the Redemption of man was under way. In this sense, the beast became NOT: until the end of the world; the fall would take a back seat to God's redemption of the human race in phases of light that continually check temporary phases of darkness.
But at the end of the world, it will be like Noah's day again: most of man wicked, sparing a remnant. But unlike Noah's day, which was very young and ignorant of God's mysteries, still redeemable, the Gentiles at the end will have experienced the fullness of Redemption in the fullness of the Gentiles, the Age of Peace. They will have fully tasted of God's truth and grace, and have found them lacking. Nothing will remain, therefore, for God to give to man, saving the eternity of the New Creation.
For this reason, man's final fall in the end will be incurable, practically speaking, unable to be restrained by the Spirit, since the Spirit will have been radically and irrevocably rejected in that Great apostasy. Hence, at this latter phase of darkness, this final phase of darkness in human history, the fall will once again reign in human history. Hence, the Beast will be AGAIN!
There is no Blasphemy against the Spirit before Death!