History Addict's Sunday School Lessons Series


Revelation Part 9: The Beasts (Revelation 13)


(Please note: In addition to my original lesson plans here are some of the notes, annotations and references I used to create the lesson from a variety of sources, all listed at the bottom of the page)


 

(New American Standard Bible, 1995):

 

 

Rev. 13:1 ¶ And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore.

¶ Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.

Rev. 13:2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.

Rev. 13:3 I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast;

Rev. 13:4 they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?"

Rev. 13:5 There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.

Rev. 13:6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.

Rev. 13:7 ¶ It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.

Rev. 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

Rev. 13:9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear.

Rev. 13:10 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.

Rev. 13:11 ¶ Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon.

Rev. 13:12 He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.

Rev. 13:13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men.

Rev. 13:14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who *had the wound of the sword and has come to life.

Rev. 13:15 And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

Rev. 13:16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead,

Rev. 13:17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.

Rev. 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.

 

 

 

 

Novum Testamentum Graece (New Testament in Greek)

 

Nestle-Aland, 27th Edition, prepared by Institut für neutestamentliche Testforschung Münster/Westfalen, Barbara and Kurt Aland (Editors). Copyright © 1898 and 1993 by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart.

Used by permission.

 

Morphological tagging by William D. Mounce and Rex A. Koivisto

Copyright © 2003 William D. Mounce.

Copyright © 2006 OakTree Software, Inc.

All rights reserved.

 

Version 3.3

 

(You must have the Helena font installed in order to see the Greek text rendered correctly; it can be obtained here: http://www.accordancebible.com/)

 

 Rev. 13:1 ¼          Kai« ei€don e™k thvß qala¿sshß qhri÷on aÓnabaiˆnon, e¶con ke÷rata de÷ka kai« kefala»ß ešpta» kai« e™pi« tw×n kera¿twn aujtouv de÷ka diadh/mata kai« e™pi« ta»ß kefala»ß aujtouv ojno/ma[ta] blasfhmi÷aß.

Rev. 13:2 kai« to\ qhri÷on o§ ei€don hn o¢moion parda¿lei kai« oiš po/deß aujtouv wJß aýrkou kai« to\ sto/ma aujtouv wJß sto/ma le÷ontoß. kai« e¶dwken aujtw–× oJ dra¿kwn th\n du/namin aujtouv kai« to\n qro/non aujtouv kai« e™xousi÷an mega¿lhn.

Rev. 13:3 kai« mi÷an e™k tw×n kefalw×n aujtouv wJß e™sfagme÷nhn ei™ß qa¿naton, kai« hJ plhgh\ touv qana¿tou aujtouv e™qerapeu/qh. ¼       Kai« e™qauma¿sqh o¢lh hJ ghv ojpi÷sw touv qhri÷ou

Rev. 13:4 kai« proseku/nhsan tw–× dra¿konti, o¢ti e¶dwken th\n e™xousi÷an tw–× qhri÷w–, kai« proseku/nhsan tw–× qhri÷w– le÷gonteß: ti÷ß o¢moioß tw–× qhri÷w– kai« ti÷ß du/natai polemhvsai met aujtouv;

Rev. 13:5 ¼            Kai« e™do/qh aujtw–× sto/ma lalouvn mega¿la kai« blasfhmi÷aß kai« e™do/qh aujtw–× e™xousi÷a poihvsai mhvnaß tessera¿konta [kai«] du/o.

Rev. 13:6 kai« h¡noixen to\ sto/ma aujtouv ei™ß blasfhmi÷aß pro\ß to\n qeo\n blasfhmhvsai to\ o¡noma aujtouv kai« th\n skhnh\n aujtouv, tou\ß e™n tw–× oujranw–× skhnouvntaß.

Rev. 13:7 kai« e™do/qh aujtw–× poihvsai po/lemon meta» tw×n aJgi÷wn kai« nikhvsai aujtou/ß, kai« e™do/qh aujtw–× e™xousi÷a e™pi« pa×san fulh\n kai« lao\n kai« glw×ssan kai« e¶qnoß.

Rev. 13:8 kai« proskunh/sousin aujto\n pa¿nteß oiš katoikouvnteß e™pi« thvß ghvß, ouƒ ouj ge÷graptai to\ o¡noma aujtouv e™n tw–× bibli÷w– thvß zwhvß touv aÓrni÷ou touv e™sfagme÷nou aÓpo\ katabolhvß ko/smou.

Rev. 13:9 ¼            Ei¶ tiß e¶cei ouß aÓkousa¿tw.

Rev. 13:10 ¼          ei¶ tiß ei™ß ai™cmalwsi÷an, ei™ß ai™cmalwsi÷an uJpa¿gei:

           ei¶ tiß e™n macai÷rhØ aÓpoktanqhvnai aujto\n e™n macai÷rhØ aÓpoktanqhvnai. ÞWde÷ e™stin hJ uJpomonh\ kai« hJ pi÷stiß tw×n aJgi÷wn.

Rev. 13:11 ¼          Kai« ei€don aýllo qhri÷on aÓnabaiˆnon e™k thvß ghvß, kai« ei€cen ke÷rata du/o o¢moia aÓrni÷w– kai« e™la¿lei wJß dra¿kwn.

Rev. 13:12 kai« th\n e™xousi÷an touv prw¿tou qhri÷ou pa×san poieiˆ e™nw¿pion aujtouv, kai« poieiˆ th\n ghvn kai« tou\ß e™n aujthØv katoikouvntaß iºna proskunh/sousin to\ qhri÷on to\ prw×ton, ouƒ e™qerapeu/qh hJ plhgh\ touv qana¿tou aujtouv.

Rev. 13:13 kai« poieiˆ shmeiˆa mega¿la, iºna kai« puvr poihØv e™k touv oujranouv katabai÷nein ei™ß th\n ghvn e™nw¿pion tw×n aÓnqrw¿pwn,

Rev. 13:14 kai« plana–× tou\ß katoikouvntaß e™pi« thvß ghvß dia» ta» shmeiˆa a± e™do/qh aujtw–× poihvsai e™nw¿pion touv qhri÷ou, le÷gwn toiˆß katoikouvsin e™pi« thvß ghvß poihvsai ei™ko/na tw–× qhri÷w–, o§ß e¶cei th\n plhgh\n thvß macai÷rhß kai« e¶zhsen.

Rev. 13:15 ¼          Kai« e™do/qh aujtw–× douvnai pneuvma thØv ei™ko/ni touv qhri÷ou, iºna kai« lalh/shØ hJ ei™kw»n touv qhri÷ou kai« poih/shØ [iºna] o¢soi e™a»n mh\ proskunh/swsin thØv ei™ko/ni touv qhri÷ou aÓpoktanqw×sin.

Rev. 13:16 kai« poieiˆ pa¿ntaß, tou\ß mikrou\ß kai« tou\ß mega¿louß, kai« tou\ß plousi÷ouß kai« tou\ß ptwcou/ß, kai« tou\ß e™leuqe÷rouß kai« tou\ß dou/louß, iºna dw×sin aujtoiˆß ca¿ragma e™pi« thvß ceiro\ß aujtw×n thvß dexia×ß h£ e™pi« to\ me÷twpon aujtw×n

Rev. 13:17 kai« iºna mh/ tiß du/nhtai aÓgora¿sai h£ pwlhvsai ei™ mh\ oJ e¶cwn to\ ca¿ragma to\ o¡noma touv qhri÷ou h£ to\n aÓriqmo\n touv ojno/matoß aujtouv.

Rev. 13:18 ¼          ÞWde hJ sofi÷a e™sti÷n. oJ e¶cwn nouvn yhfisa¿tw to\n aÓriqmo\n touv qhri÷ou, aÓriqmo\ß ga»r aÓnqrw¿pou e™sti÷n, kai« oJ aÓriqmo\ß aujtouv ešxako/sioi ešxh/konta eºx.

 

 

 


Lesson Outline

 

VI. Seven Signs (12:1-14:20)

A. First Sign: A Woman Gives Birth to a Son (12:1-6)

B. Second Sign: War in Heaven between Michael and the Dragon (12:7-12)

C. Third Sign: The Dragon Pursues the Woman and Her Offspring (12:13-13:1)

D. Fourth Sign: The Beast From the Sea (13:1-10)

E. Fifth Sign: The Beast From the Earth (13:11-18)

F. Sixth Sign: The Lamb and the 144,000 (14:1-5)

G. The Three Angels (14:6-13)

H. Seventh Sign: The Earth Harvested by "One Like the Son of Man" (14:14-20)

 

 

(Dr. Constable's Outline)

H. Supplementary revelation of Satan's activity in the Great Tribulation chs. 12‹13

1. The activity of Satan himself ch. 12

2. The activity of Satan's agents ch. 13

 

 

McKay's Notes

 

 

 


 

IVP-Hard Sayings of the Bible

 

 

13:1 Who Is the Beast from the Sea?

              John may well have drawn his basis for the picture of this beast from Daniel 7, which lists a series of four beasts. The first three are similar to recognizable animals, although with additions or modifications. The fourth is compared to no known animal, but is simply "terrifying and frightening and very powerful" (Dan 7:7). The only physical description is that it has iron teeth and ten horns. The beast in Revelation appears related to that one.

              This beast is an embodiment of Satan. The seven heads and ten horns on the beast are copied from the picture of Satan in Revelation 12:3. And this is no wonder, for "the dragon [Satan] gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority." He represents the power of Satan on earth and is to Satan what Christ is to the Father. He is even more a pseudo-Christ in that he receives a mortal wound from which he is healed, a mimicked death and resurrection. Because of this event he is worshiped on earth.

              The second place where this beast appears is in Revelation 17:3. This chapter explains (Rev 17:8-13) that the symbolism has more than one meaning. The ten horns are ten kings who rule along with a great ruler and support that ruler. The seven heads are both seven hills (a transparent symbol for Rome) and seven kings. Unlike the ten who rule simultaneously, these seven come one after another. John is living in the time when the sixth of them is ruling. The beast himself is an eighth. Yet, inspired by Satan as he is, his real origin is in "the Abyss," the place where Satanic spirits are imprisoned.

              Because of the transparency of the symbolism in Revelation 17:9, it would seem that if we knew how John counted the rulers of Rome, it would be fairly easy to discover who the beast was. He should be the eighth emperor of Rome, John living in the age of the sixth. The fact that the Roman Senate declared several emperors to be divine and that some, especially Domitian, claimed divinity during their lifetimes, and one, Caligula, tried to have his statue erected in the temple in Jerusalem, adds to this impression (compare Rev 13:8, 14). Unfortunately we do not know either with whom John would start such a count or whether he would skip some of the emperors who reigned only a short time. Nor are we sure exactly when he lived, for a good case has been made for the time of Domitian (A.D. 91-96, the traditional date) as well as that of Galba (A.D. 68). Neither of these dates would meet the requirement of having an eighth emperor fitting the description of the beast.

              Yet there is a further problem with the identification of this beast. As we have seen, the seven heads have two meanings, one of which is Rome (the seven hills) and the other seven kings. Some see these kings as literal rulers of Rome (as in the scheme above), and others see them as kingdoms or empires. In Daniel 7:17 the term translated "kingdoms" in the NIV is literally "kings" in Aramaic. That means that John could be shifting from a vision of literal Rome and its emperors to one of a succession of empires.

              Finally, in apocalyptic scenarios there is often a place in which the writer "fades out" from the present historical circumstances and sees beyond them to future events. A good example of this is Daniel 12:1. Daniel 11 gives us a picture of the conflict between the Seleucid and Ptolemaic empires, culminating in the Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163 B.C.). If one reads 1 Maccabees or Josephus's histories, it is easy to identify everyone. But in Daniel 12 we are no longer in the realm of history. We are seeing beyond the period of Daniel 11 to the end of history. Since the beast "once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss" (Rev 17:8), John appears to be suggesting that an evil force that had once been destroyed (or perhaps consigned to the Abyss) would reappear, not that a new emperor would appear. This would go beyond anything present in the Roman Empire.

              What, then, can we say about the beast? John saw in his vision a personage coming at the end of time who would be the devil incarnate and demand worship. This personage would be accompanied by a second who would seem to be harmless enough ("two horns like a lamb," perhaps suggesting a likeness to Christ, the Lamb), but would speak for the devil ("he spoke like a dragon," Rev 13:11). The second personage will direct worship toward the first. The appearance of these two will be associated with the three-and-a-half-year period of intense persecution at the end of the age. John saw this in terms of the Rome that he knew, perhaps expecting in his own heart that it would happen in his lifetime. We have previously suggested that the vision of Revelation may have been delayed, like Jonah's, due to the widespread conversion to Christianity in the Roman Empire. Whether or not this is the case, all scenarios of the end (such as Paul's in 2 Thess 2) agree in seeing an embodiment of evil, like Antiochus IV Epiphanes was in his day, before the incarnation of good, Jesus Christ, appears.

              What this means for the church is that its expectation of the end is not one of gradual improvement or Christianizing of the world until Christ appears, but one of evangelization in the face of persecution, a persecution that will become most severe just before the end. Certainly many Christians have felt they have lived in the times of the beast, such as those living under Napoleon or Hitler or Stalin. Yet they have been wrong in that the end has not come. But will those who live in the age of the real beast have any better insight? None of us evaluate our own times well. The important thing is that Christians respond appropriately to persecutors, whether a beastlike person (such as Hitler) or the genuine beast. John's picture shows that the beast is under the ultimate control of God. His time is limited. His coming and destruction are under the power of God. His persecution will be used by God for the perfection of God's church. The response expected, then, is firm commitment to God. That response will not be wrong in the face of any persecution, even if we are not sure whether or not it is the genuine beast.

 

13:18 His Number Is 666?

              I can be described by a number of numbers. I have a Social Security number and a Canadian social insurance number. I am one number to the Society of Biblical Literature's computer and another to CompuServ Information Service. We expect this in our computer age, but we are surprised to find people in the Bible described in terms of a number and correctly suspect that the numbers are something more than identification for filing purposes. In the previous chapter I introduced the concept of the "beast coming out of the sea." His description was problematic, but the one thing about him that has caused more difficulty and speculation than any of the others is his enigmatic number noted in Revelation 13:18.

              It is not surprising that numbers had meaning in the symbolic world of John's vision, for they had more than numerical meaning in his outer world as well. Numbers and letters were interchangeable. For example, many rabbinic scriptures to this day do not use Arabic numerals, but instead use Hebrew letters to stand for the various verse and chapter numbers. This led some rabbis to interpret Scripture via gematria, the turning of names into numbers and vice versa. For this reason many scholars believe that the fourteen generations counted three times in Matthew 1 are related to the name David, for DVD in Hebrew (the vowels were not written) would be 4 + 6 + 4, or 14.7 The Greeks did a similar thing with their own alphabet. In the early Christian Sibylline Oracles Jesus is enumerated as 888. It was only with the spread first of Roman and then of Arabic numerals that this practice died out for most of the Western world.

              We would expect, then, that the number 666 would stand for something, especially that it would stand for a name. One theory is that it stands for Nero Caesar. Nero is selected because he persecuted Christians and a legend arose after his suicide that he had not died, but had fled to the east and would return in triumph. Two false Neros tried to fulfill this legend and failed. Still, Nero Caesar in Greek totals 1,005, so one has to transliterate the Greek name into Hebrew to get the required 666. Did John, who wrote in Greek, expect his readers to know Hebrew or Hebrew letter values?

              Two other methods to obtain the name of an emperor have been attempted. One added the values of the initial letters of the names of all of the Roman emperors up until a certain point (something that the Sibylline Oracles also does). Another used the abbreviation for the title of Domitian, another persecuting emperor. Unfortunately, for the first theory at least one of the emperors must be left out of the list to get an even 666 from the emperors' initials, and while we know of the abbreviations of Domitian's title, they do not appear together anywhere, which weakens the second theory.

              Another solution has been via the observation that 666 is the triangular number of 36 (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 and on up to 36). The number 36 is the triangular number of 8 (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 = 36). The beast, of course, is the eighth king (Rev 17:11). Triangular numbers were seen as sinister in contrast to the square numbers, which are assigned to the martyrs (Rev 7:4) and the heavenly city (Rev 21:16). While this math is interesting and fits the Greek concern with geometry (because they did not have a mathematically useful system of numerals), it does not come up with a name. Nor can we be sure that such a complicated system was in John's mind. After all, there are other triangular numbers in Scripture that are not sinister at all, such as the 153 fish in John 21:11.

              None of the solutions above has been found completely satisfactory. Perhaps the best observation is that 666 consistently (three times) falls short of the number of perfection, 7, and the number of Christ, 888. Rather than refer to a specific name, 666 may indicate that the person will be a parody of Christ. He will not come up to perfection, but as the prostitute of Revelation 17 mimics the faithful woman of Revelation 12 and the dragon in Revelation 12 mimics Christ in Revelation 19, so the beast mimics the incarnate Christ, being the embodiment of evil (the devil not being capable of true incarnation). Beyond this we can only observe that when such a personage appears, those who are wise in John's terms (which means first of all that they have divine insight) will recognize him and see that 666 does indeed fit.

 

Note

7 In transliteration the Hebrew alphabet runs } B G D H V for the numbers 1-6.


IVP-New Bible Commentary

 

 

13:1-18 The antichrist and his prophet

The dragon, in his determination to annihilate the church, calls to his aid not one helper but two. The first beast comes out of the sea (1) showing its character as a sea monster like the dragon himself, and therefore demonic. The second beast comes out of the earth (11). This difference corresponds to that between behemoth the land monster (Jb. 40:15-24) and leviathan the sea monster (Jb. 41); in the prophetic and apocalyptic literature these creatures typify God-opposing powers (see e.g. Is. 27:1; 51:9; Ezk. 32). Consonant with this, the dragon, the beast from the sea and the beast from the land form a kind of evil trinity (see 16:13). Satan claims to be God; the antichrist is the christ of Satan; and the beast from the earth performs the function of an unholy spirit. The antichrist persuades the world to worship the devil; he has a fatal wound but lives (3), in a monstrous imitation of the Christ of God. The second beast seeks to persuade the world to worship the antichrist by his witness in word and deed, as the Holy Spirit witnesses to God's Christ; and through the mark of the beast (itself a parody of the seal of God) he creates a devilish imitation of the church of Christ. So John depicts the world as divided between followers of the Truth and followers of the Lie.

              1-2 The details of the sea monster are drawn from Dn. 7, but there the characteristics of leopard, bear and lion were shared out among four empires and their rulers. Here they combine in one fearful unity of power and wickedness: the leopard signifying cruelty and cunning, the bear strength, the lion ferocity. 3 That one of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed indicates that one of the emperors had died but come to life. Precisely that was being asserted of Nero at the time of writing Revelation; for though Nero committed suicide in AD 68, it was widely believed that he had come to life and would return to lead the eastern powers against Rome. (See further on 17:8, 11, and the note on the antichristian empire at the end of the exposition of ch. 18.)

              4-7 The world worships both the devil and the pseudo-christ. The latter was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies (already apparent in the claims of the Roman emperors to divinity) and to exercise his authority for forty-two months, i.e. the period of tribulation, (see 11:2-3; 12:14). Who gave him that authority, including power to make war against the saints and to conquer them (7)? In v 4 it is the dragon who gave the authority; but the limit of forty-two months was set by God. Accordingly, it is the divine permision that ultimately controls the actions of antichrist (cf. Dn. 8:9-14; 11:36). The sovereignty of God is never more apparent than when wickedness reaches its limit‹as is evident in the crucifixion of Jesus.

8 The reference of the words from the creation of the world is uncertain; they can be linked with the slaying of [p. 1442] the Lamb (as in the AV, RV and NIV) or with the writing of names in the book of life (as in the JB, NASB and NRSV). Both meanings are equally true; for the former cf. 1 Pet. 1:19-20; for the latter Eph. 1:4. The difficulty is settled for most by appeal to 17:8, where almost identical language is used, linking the phrase with the writing in the book. Nevertheless, the word order here does not favour this interpretation, and it is best to keep to the NIV.

              10 The AV takes both parts of this couplet as referring to persecutors of the church (ŒHe that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity...'), indicating that justice will be meted out to the oppressor. The NIV is better. The saying echoes Je. 15:2 and is a call for endurance and faithfulness to death in the spirit of Jesus (cf. Mk. 8:34-35).

              11 The second beast had two horns like a lamb, simulating the character of Christ, but its words were devilish (cf. Mt. 7:15). That this beast made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast suggests that it represents the priesthood of the cult of the emperor and the political authorities who supported it. It is later called Œthe false prophet' (16:13; 19:20; 20:10). It is possible that as the first beast signifies the antichristian empire embodied in a personal antichrist, so this heathen priesthood is represented in a supreme head that directs its demonic work.

13-15 Heathen priests had little compunction in resorting to tricks, such as the production of fire, allegedly from heaven, and making an idol talk through ventriloquism. Note, however, that it is a standard feature of Christian prophecy that antichristian deceptions will take place in the end time (e.g. Mk. 13:22; 2 Thes. 2:9).

              16-18 The mark of the beast on non-Christians is a counterpart of the seal of God on Christians (7:1-8); both show the allegiance of an individual, whether to God or the devil. The immediate effect of demanding that all receive the mark of the beast is the social ostracism of those who refuse it, and it entails economic warfare by the state against the church, with death to those who do not comply.

              The mark is described as the name of the beast or the number of his name. Many ancient languages did not have figures for numbers but used instead the letters of the alphabet (a = 1, b = 2, c = 3 and so on). This made it possible for a name to be represented by the number obtained through adding the numerical values of the letters of the name. For example, there is a piece of graffiti on a wall in Pompeii which reads, ŒI love her whose name is 545'. Doubtless the young lady knew whose name that was! So also despite the many possibilities that the number 666 yields, it is virtually certain that the individual thereby indicated was known in all the churches addressed by John, and probably far wider. The name Nero Caesar transliterated into Hebrew from Greek yields the number 666. If it is put into Hebrew from Latin it gives the number 616, which is read in some early manuscripts of Revelation. The number would have been seized on in apocalyptic circles where Hebrew (the language of the OT) was known. For Christians, 666 was an eminently suitable figure for the antichrist; it represents a consistent falling short of the divine perfection suggested by 777, whereas the name Jesus in Greek totals 888! Therein lies one aspect of the difference between the devil's christ and the Christ of God: the pseudo-christ falls as far short of being the deliverer of the world as the Christ of God exceeds all the hopes of humankind for a Saviour.

 


 

 

IVP-New Testament Commentary

 

 

13:1-10

The Worshiped Beast

 

Although Nero died, reportedly by his own hand, on June 9, A.D. 68, rumor circulated that he was still alive and ready to take vengeance on the Roman aristocracy for rejecting him. According to writers of the day, the majority of people in the eastern part of the Empire expected his return. Several impostors arose claiming to be Nero, hoping to gather followings in the eastern Empire, where he was most popular; one of them arose in Asia Minor during the reign of Titus (Domitian's older brother). During Domitian's reign, a Nero figure even persuaded the Parthians to follow him to invade the Roman Empire, but Domitian forced them to back down and execute the impostor instead.

              Jewish oracles predicted the return of Nero, and Christians feared it. Although John clearly does not believe in a literal return of Nero, he may use the image of this popular myth, as many scholars think, to say: "You thought Nero was bad; wait till you see this!" (the way we today would use the image of Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot). This image so shaped the views of early Christians‹thousands of whose numbers had been eradicated under Nero in Rome‹that "Nero" even became a term for " antichrist " in the Armenian language. Many later Christian writers, including Tertullian, Augustine and Jerome, connected Nero with the antichrist. The view that John here uses this Nero redivivus myth has continued through history and is widely held by modern scholars, such as F. F. Bruce, William Barclay and most commentators on Revelation. Politically dangerous oracles were known forms of Greek and Jewish protest, and Rome would have taken serious offense at the implications of this exiled prophet John had the authorities read and grasped the symbolism of his book.

13:1.  Rome came "from the sea" from the vantage point of the eastern Empire, although the image itself is borrowed from Daniel 7:3. (4 Ezra 11:1 likewise has a symbol for Rome‹an eagle with twelve wings and three heads‹come from the sea, although in 13:1 a messianic figure does the same.)

Emperors bore titles such as "divine" ("god," on Asian coins) and "son of a god" (i.e., of the preceding ruler), and Domitian demanded the address "Lord and God," thus "blasphemous names" here (see comment on Rev 13:5-6 for Old Testament background). On seven-headed beasts see comment on 12:3; on the heads see comment on 17:9-10.

13:2.  Daniel described four beasts, representing four successive empires (7:3-7); the fourth, the Greek empire of Alexander, was in John's day often interpreted to represent Rome instead. John uses components from several of Daniel's beasts (which were a winged lion, a bear, a winged leopard and a beast with iron teeth) to create a composite of oppressive evil, evoking the worst feelings his hearers would have toward Rome and all oppressive political powers.

13:3.  Much of the passage can be explained by the beast's imitating God as a false god, hence the pseudoresurrection here. But many commentators have also seen reference here to the myth that Nero, who apparently died in A.D. 68, was alive and would return (according to some forms of the story, Nero was dead but would return from the dead; see introduction to 13:1-10).

13:4.  The praise here offered to the beast mimics a praise often offered to God (Ex 15:11; cf. Judith 6:2-3; Ecclus 33:5, 10).

13:5-6.  The proud mouth is the sort of imagery that later fed into the antichrist traditions (originally built around Antiochus Epiphanes and those after him who would be like him- Dan 7:8, 20, 25; 11:36; 1 Macc 1:24). On the forty-two months see comment on Revelation 11:2-3. The identifying of the tabernacle with the righteous heaven -dwellers matches the Essene and early Christian picture of the righteous community as God's holy temple.

13:7.  The antichristlike figure of Daniel 7:21-22 (applied first to Antiochus IV Epiphanes but necessarily reapplied to his successors in the role, with which history is replete) waged war against the saints ("holy ones," God's people- 7:18, 25; 8:24) and "overcame" them‹until the day of judgment and the kingdom arrived. Nero burned Christians alive to light his imperial gardens at night, crucified others and fed still others to wild beasts; they were his political scapegoat for a fire in Rome for which he and his boyfriend Tigellinus were being blamed. Domitian does not seem to have instituted an empirewide policy of repressing Christians; but John's prophecy came true soon enough, for some later emperors did so.

13:8.  Antiochus Epiphanes, one of the earliest candidates for an antichrist figure (second century B.C.), had brought all the nations (in his part of the world) under his authority as one people (1 Macc 1:41-43) and demanded the worship normally considered due rulers in the East. The Romans had likewise unified much of the ancient world, and the ruler‹worshiping East now worshiped the emperor. "All the earth" was used in other texts of John's time to mean all the "civilized" earth, all that was under a mighty empire (e.g., Judith 2:7; 6:4; 11:1; although everyone was aware, from legend, mythology and trade connections, of peoples outside the sphere of Rome, Parthia and the northern barbarians). This verse indicates the Jewish doctrine of predestination, which Jewish people held alongside the doctrine of free will (the early writers never saw enough tension between the two to explain the difference, although the idea of God's foreknowledge may have helped; see comment on Rom 9:19-21). On the "book of life" (cf. Dan 12:1), see comment on Philippians 4:3.

13:9.  see comment on 2:7.

13:10.  The language is from Jeremiah 15:2 and 43:11, where God promises to exterminate most of the Israelites by various means and to enslave the others in captivity; but the judgment here is against all nations who have rebelled against God. This judgment would encourage the martyred saints concerning their vindication (Rev 14:11-12).

 

13:11-18

Enforcing Imperial Worship

 

Although most of the details of 13:1-10 could apply to the emperor of John's day, and via him to totalitarian regimes throughout history, some of the details of 13:11-18 suggest that John consciously anticipates its ultimate fulfillment in an emperor yet to come (17:11).

13:11-12.  The beast "from the earth," as opposed to "from the sea" (13:1), is often thought to be the local provincial council who supervised the imperial cult in Asia, as opposed to the Roman administration. It was called the commune Asiae, headed by the Asiarchs from local towns (see comment on Acts 19:31). John may not imply any great difference between earth and sea (cf. Dan 7:3, 17). The "horned lamb" probably parodies Christ (Rev 5:6); the two horns might reflect the power of ancient Persia in Daniel 8:6. Fire from heaven parodies and so apparently relativizes the miraculous power of God's witnesses (Rev 11:5), as Pharaoh's magicians tried to do with Moses' miracles as long as they could (Ex 7:11, 22; 8:7, 18; cf. 2 Kings 18:33-35).

13:13.  Although the ancient Mediterranean world was full of self-proclaimed wonderworkers (some of whom were friends of emperors), and a few wonders had been attributed to Domitian's father (the emperor Vespasian), such wonders were not regularly associated with the imperial cult. Although some people did pray to Caesar for help (e.g., Lucius in Apuleius's story of the ass and his transformation), most of the miracle reports are associated with temples like those of the healing deity Asclepius. John apparently envisions a future blending of anti-Christian state religion and occult power, both of which existed mainly separately in his own day. His source for this view is undoubtedly Jesus (Mt 24:24; 2 Thess 2:9), and he has Old Testament precedent for the occult powers in the service of an anti-God ruler repressing God's people (Ex 7:11, 22).

              (As crosscultural studies of shamanism and spirit possession become more available, the once popular tendency of commentators to rationalize away ancient reports of miracles, whether Christian or otherwise, will probably continue to diminish, although not all the reports, ancient or modern, are of equal value. Christianity has traditionally recognized the reality of other superhuman forces in the universe besides God [e.g., 1 Cor 10:20 ], although it would not agree with the increasingly accepted relativist position that all superhuman forces are of the same power or benevolent moral character, a position to which the data themselves would be hard pressed to point.)

13:14-15.  Some magicians simulated the moving and speaking of idols (the skeptical rhetorician Lucian describes in detail the purported methods of a false prophet named Alexander). Hearing the extent to which the world can be deceived by false religion and state propaganda would evoke familiar discomfort in John's first Christian readers (cf. Deut 13:1-2). The demand to worship the image, which to the authorities symbolized appropriate loyalty to the state but to the Christians would symbolize apostasy, resembled the situation the Maccabean martyrs had faced (cf. 1 Macc 1:50-51) and especially the conflicts faced by Daniel and his three friends (Dan 3, 6).

13:16-17.  A Greco-Egyptian king had similarly required Jews to be branded with the ivy leaf, the emblem of Dionysus (3 Maccabees 2:28-29); this is likewise a mark of ownership, a brand or tattoo indicating to which god or empire one belongs. The term for "mark" is, among other things, the regular term for the imperial stamp on documents and of the image of his head on coins.

              Like the other markings in Revelation, it seems to be symbolic (see comment on 3:12; 7:3; cf. 14:1; 17:5; 19:12; 22:4); some Jewish texts speak of a symbolic mark of destruction on the forehead of the wicked (Psalms of Solomon 15:9) in contrast to the mark of the righteous (15:6). Some interpreters have nevertheless seen a tangible expression of allegiance to the world system; in at least the last two major imperial persecutions of Christians, both in the third century, certificates were issued to those who had fulfilled the mandated rite of emperor worship. But the text may simply imply a figurative slave brand identifying to whom a person belongs‹God or the world. Participation in idolatry appeared to be almost an economic necessity in many cities in Asia Minor (see comment on 2:18-29), and John warns that commercial discrimination would grow more severe, alongside the graver danger of martyrdom.

13:18.  This verse is a typically cryptic apocalyptic riddle (cf. Mt 24:15). Six hundred sixty-six is a triangular number, but most ancient readers would not know that. It has been thought a parody on the divine number, seven; this is possible, but scholars more often turn to another explanation. "Counting a name" or word was an easy practice in Greek and Hebrew, which used letters as specific numbers (later Jewish teachers often played with the numerical values of words; this form of calculation was known as gematria.) Many ingenious proposals have been made for the meaning of "666"; Irenaeus, a second-century Christian scholar, listed among the possibilities "Lateinos" (Rome as the final kingdom).

              But the most popular proposal among scholars today is "Nero Caesar." Although his name comes out to 1,005 in Greek (which would have been obvious, because a familiar wordplay on that number of his name had circulated throughout the Empire's graffiti), his name comes out to "666" if transliterated into Hebrew. If John intends an allusion to Nero here (see comment on 13:1-10), either he expects his readers to know to switch to Hebrew letters (probably with the help of more skilled members of the congregation), or he and they had already used "666" in this manner. (This calculation requires using the Greek pronunciation Neron-Kaisar in Hebrew letters, with appropriate Hebrew numerical values: N = 50, r = 200, n = 6, K = 100, s = 60, r = 200. Hebrew used only consonants. But the Sibylline Oracles, a Jewish document composed in Greek, does its gematria in Greek, not Hebrew; most of its readers would have been able to read only the former, being unable even to transliterate a name into proper Hebrew letters. Jewish scholars who used Hebrew incorporated many Greek loanwords, but John's readers would need either some help or prior knowledge to discern his point.)

 


 

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary

 

CHAPTER 13

 

Revelation 13:1-18. VISION OF THE BEAST THAT CAME OUT OF THE SEA: THE SECOND BEAST, OUT OF THE EARTH, EXERCISING THE POWER OF THE FIRST BEAST, AND CAUSING THE EARTH TO WORSHIP HIM.

 

1. I stood ‹ So B, a, and Coptic read. But A, C, Vulgate, and Syriac, "He stood." Standing on the sand of the sea, HE gave his power to the beast that rose out of the sea. upon the sand of the sea ‹ where the four winds were to be seen striving upon the great sea (Daniel 7:2). beast ‹ Greek, "wild beast." Man becomes "brutish" when he severs himself from God, the archetype and true ideal, in whose image he was first made, which ideal is realized by the man Christ Jesus. Hence, the world powers seeking their own glory, and not God's, are represented as beasts; and Nebuchadnezzar, when in self-deification he forgot that "the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men," was driven among the beasts. In Daniel 7:4-7 there are four beasts: here the one beast expresses the sum-total of the God-opposed world power viewed in its universal development, not restricted to one manifestation alone, as Rome. This first beast expresses the world power attacking the Church more from without; the second, which is a revival of, and minister to, the first, is the world power as the false prophet corrupting and destroying the Church from within. out of the sea ‹ (Daniel 7:3; compare Note, see note on Revelation 8:8); out of the troubled waves of peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. The earth (Revelation 13:11), on the other hand, means the consolidated, ordered world of nations, with its culture and learning. seven heads and ten horns ‹ A, B, and C transpose, "ten horns and seven heads." The ten horns are now put first (contrast the order, Revelation 12:3) because they are crowned. They shall not be so till the last stage of the fourth kingdom (the Roman), which shall continue until the fifth kingdom, Christ's, shall supplant it and destroy it utterly; this last stage is marked by the ten toes of the two feet of the image in Daniel 2:33, 41, 42. The seven implies the world power setting up itself as God, and caricaturing the seven Spirits of God; yet its true character as God-opposed is detected by the number ten accompanying the seven. Dragon and beast both wear crowns, but the former on the heads, the latter on the horns (Revelation 12:3; 13:1). Therefore, both heads and horns refer to kingdoms; compare Revelation 17:7, 10, 12, "kings" representing the kingdoms whose heads they are. The seven kings, as peculiarly powerful ‹ the great powers of the world ‹ are distinguished from the ten, represented by the horns (simply called "kings," Revelation 17:12). In Daniel, the ten mean the last phase of the world power, the fourth kingdom divided into ten parts. They are connected with the seventh head (Revelation 17:12), and are as yet future [AUBERLEN]. The mistake of those who interpret the beast to be Rome exclusively, and the ten horns to mean kingdoms which have taken the place of Rome in Europe already, is, the fourth kingdom in the image has TWO legs, representing the eastern as well as the western empire; the ten toes are not upon the one foot (the west), as these interpretations require, but on the two (east and west) together, so that any theory which makes the ten kingdoms belong to the west alone must err. If the ten kingdoms meant were those which sprung up on the overthrow of Rome, the ten would be accurately known, whereas twenty-eight different lists are given by so many interpreters, making in all sixty-five kingdoms! [TYSO in DE BURGH]. The seven heads are the seven world monarchies, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, the Germanic empire, under the last of which we live [AUBERLEN], and which devolved for a time on Napoleon, after Francis, emperor of Germany and king of Rome, had resigned the title in 1806. FABER explains the healing of the deadly wound to be the revival of the Napoleonic dynasty after its overthrow at Waterloo. That secular dynasty, in alliance with the ecclesiastical power, the Papacy (Revelation 13:11, etc.), being "the eighth head," and yet "of the seven" (Revelation 17:11), will temporarily triumph over the saints, until destroyed in Armageddon (Revelation 19:17-21). A Napoleon, in this view, will be the Antichrist, restoring the Jews to Palestine, and accepted as their Messiah at first, and afterwards fearfully oppressing them. Antichrist, the summing up and concentration of all the world evil that preceded, is the eighth, but yet one of the seven (Revelation 17:11). crowns ‹ Greek, "diadems." name of blasphemy ‹ So C, Coptic, and ANDREAS. A, B, and Vulgate read, "names of blasphemy," namely, a name on each of the heads; blasphemously arrogating attributes belonging to God alone (compare Note, see note on Revelation 17:3). A characteristic of the little horn in Daniel 7:8, 20, 21; 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

 

2. leopard . . . bear . . . lion ‹ This beast unites in itself the God-opposed characteristics of the three preceding kingdoms, resembling respectively the leopard, bear, and lion. It rises up out of the sea, as Daniel's four beasts, and has ten horns, as Daniel's fourth beast, and seven heads, as Daniel's four beasts had in all, namely, one on the first, one on the second, four on the third, and one on the fourth. Thus it represents comprehensively in one figure the world power (which in Daniel is represented by four) of all times and places, not merely of one period and one locality, viewed as opposed to God; just as the woman is the Church of all ages. This view is favored also by the fact, that the beast is the vicarious representative of Satan, who similarly has seven heads and ten horns: a general description of his universal power in all ages and places of the world. Satan appears as a serpent, as being the archetype of the beast nature (Revelation 12:9). "If the seven heads meant merely seven Roman emperors, one cannot understand why they alone should be mentioned in the original image of Satan, whereas it is perfectly intelligible if we suppose them to represent Satan's power on earth viewed collectively" [AUBERLEN].

 

3. One of ‹ literally, "from among." wounded . . . healed ‹ twice again repeated emphatically (Revelation 13:12, 14); compare Revelation 17:8, 11, "the beast that was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit" (compare Revelation 13:11); the Germanic empire, the seventh head (revived in the eighth ), as yet future in John's time (Revelation 17:10). Contrast the change whereby Nebuchadnezzar, being humbled from his self-deifying pride, was converted from his beast -like form and character to MAN'S form and true position towards God; symbolized by his eagle wings being plucked, and himself made to stand upon his feet as a man (Daniel 7:4). Here, on the contrary, the beast's head is not changed into a human head, but receives a deadly wound, that is, the world kingdom which this head represents does not truly turn to God, but for a time its God-opposed character remains paralyzed ("as it were slain"; the very words marking the beast's outward resemblance to the Lamb, "as it were slain," see note on Revelation 5:6. Compare also the second beast's resemblance to the Lamb, Revelation 13:11). Though seemingly slain (Greek for "wounded"), it remains the beast still, to rise again in another form (Revelation 13:11). The first six heads were heathenish, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome; the new seventh world power (the pagan German hordes pouring down on Christianized Rome), whereby Satan had hoped to stifle Christianity (Revelation 11:15, 16), became itself Christianized (answering to the beast's, as it were, deadly wound: it was slain, and it is not, Revelation 17:11). Its ascent out of the bottomless pit answers to the healing of its deadly wound (Revelation 17:8). No essential change is noticed in Daniel as effected by Christianity upon the fourth kingdom; it remains essentially God-opposed to the last. The beast, healed of its temporary and external wound, now returns, not only from the sea, but from the bottomless pit, whence it draws new Antichristian strength of hell (Revelation 13:3, 11, 12, 14; Revelation 11:7; 17:8). Compare the seven evil spirits taken into the temporarily dispossessed, and the last state worse than the first, Matthew 12:43-45. A new and worse heathenism breaks in upon the Christianized world, more devilish than the old one of the first heads of the beast. The latter was an apostasy only from the general revelation of God in nature and conscience; but this new one is from God's revelation of love in His Son. It culminates in Antichrist, the man of sin, the son of perdition (compare Revelation 17:11); 2 Thessalonians 2:3; compare 2 Timothy 3:1-4, the very characteristics of old heathenism (Romans 1:29-32) [AUBERLEN]. More than one wound seems to me to be meant, for example, that under Constantine (when the pagan worship of the emperor's image gave way to Christianity), followed by the healing, when image worship and the other papal errors were introduced into the Church; again, that at the Reformation, followed by the lethargic form of godliness without the power, and about to end in the last great apostasy, which I identify with the second beast (Revelation 13:11), Antichrist, the same seventh world power in another form. wondered after ‹ followed with wondering gaze.

 

4. which gave ‹ A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac, and ANDREAS read, "because he gave." power ‹ Greek, "the authority" which it had; its authority. Who is like unto the beast? ‹ The very language appropriated to God, Exodus 15:11 (whence, in the Hebrew, the Maccabees took their name; the opponents of the Old Testament Antichrist, Antiochus); Psalms 35:10; 71:19; 113:5; Micah 7:18; blasphemously (Revelation 13:1, 5) assigned to the beast. It is a parody of the name "Michael" (compare Revelation 12:7), meaning, "Who is like unto God?"

 

5. blasphemies ‹ So ANDREAS reads. B reads "blasphemy." A, "blasphemous things" (compare Daniel 7:8; 11:25). power ‹ "authority"; legitimate power (Greek, "exousia "). to continue ‹ Greek, "poiesai," "to act," or "work." B reads, "to make war" (compare Revelation 13:4). But A, C, Vulgate, Syriac, and ANDREAS omit "war." forty . . . two month ‹ (See note on Revelation 11:2; see note on Revelation 11:3; see note on Revelation 12:6).

 

6. opened . . . mouth ‹ The usual formula in the case of a set speech, or series of speeches. Revelation 13:6, 7 expand Revelation 13:5. blasphemy ‹ So B and ANDREAS. A and C read "blasphemies." and them ‹ So Vulgate, Coptic, ANDREAS, and PRIMASIUS read. A and C omit "and": "them that dwell (literally, Œtabernacle') in heaven," mean not only angels and the departed souls of the righteous, but believers on earth who have their citizenship in heaven, and whose true life is hidden from the Antichristian persecutor in the secret of God's tabernacle. See note on Revelation 12:12; see note on John 3:7.

 

7. power ‹ Greek, "authority." all kindreds . . . tongues . . . nations ‹ Greek, "every tribe . . . tongue . . . nation." A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac, ANDREAS, and PRIMASIUS add "and people," after "tribe" or "kindred."

 

8. all that dwell upon the earth ‹ being of earth earthy; in contrast to "them that dwell in heaven." whose names are not written ‹ A, B, C, Syriac, Coptic, and ANDREAS read singular, "(every one) whose (Greek, Œhou Œ; but B, Greek, Œhon, Œ plural) name is not written." Lamb slain from the foundation of the world ‹ The Greek order of words favors this translation. He was slain in the Father's eternal counsels: compare 1 Peter 1:19, 20, virtually parallel. The other way of connecting the words is, "Written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb slain." So in Revelation 17:8. The elect. The former is in the Greek more obvious and simple. "Whatsoever virtue was in the sacrifices, did operate through Messiah's death alone. As He was "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," so all atonements ever made were only effectual by His blood" [BISHOP PEARSON, Exposition of the Creed ].

 

9. A general exhortation. Christ's own words of monition calling solemn attention.

 

10. He that leadeth into captivity ‹ A, B, C, and Vulgate read, "if any one (be) for captivity." shall go into captivity ‹ Greek present, "goeth into captivity." Compare Jeremiah 15:2, which is alluded to here. a, B, and C read simply, "he goeth away," and omit "into captivity." But A and Vulgate support the words. he that killeth with the sword, must be killed with the sword ‹ So B and C read. But A reads, "if any (is for) being (literally, Œto be') killed with the sword." As of old, so now, those to be persecuted by the beast in various ways, have their trials severally appointed them by God's fixed counsel. English Version is quite a different sense, namely, a warning to the persecutors that they shall be punished with retribution in kind. Here ‹ "Herein": in bearing their appointed sufferings lies the patient endurance . . . of the saints. This is to be the motto and watchword of the elect during the period of the world kingdom. As the first beast is to be met by patience and faith (Revelation 13:10), the second beast must be opposed by true wisdom (Revelation 13:18).

 

11. another beast ‹ "the false prophet." out of the earth ‹ out of society civilized, consolidated, and ordered, but still, with all its culture, of earth earthy: as distinguished from "the sea," the troubled agitations of various peoples out of which the world power and its several kingdoms have emerged. "The sacerdotal persecuting power, pagan and Christian; the pagan priesthood making an image of the emperors which they compelled Christians to worship, and working wonders by magic and omens; the Romish priesthood, the inheritors of pagan rites, images, and superstitions, lamb-like in Christian professions, dragon-like in word and act" [ALFORD, and so the Spanish Jesuit, LACUNZA, writing under the name BEN EZRA]. As the first beast was like the Lamb in being, as it were, wounded to death, so the second is like the Lamb in having two lamb-like horns (its essential difference from the Lamb is marked by its having TWO, but the Lamb SEVEN horns, Revelation 5:6). The former paganism of the world power, seeming to be wounded to death by Christianity, revives. In its second beast-form it is Christianized heathendom ministering to the former, and having earthly culture and learning to recommend it. The second beast's, or false prophet's rise, coincides in time with the healing of the beast's deadly wound and its revival (Revelation 13:12-14). Its manifold character is marked by the Lord (Matthew 24:11, 24), "Many false prophets shall rise," where He is speaking of the last days. As the former beast corresponds to the first four beasts of Daniel, so the second beast, or the false prophet, to the little horn starting up among the ten horns of the fourth beast. This Antichristian horn has not only the mouth of blasphemy (Revelation 13:5), but also "the eyes of man" (Daniel 7:8): the former is also in the first beast (Revelation 13:1, 5), but the latter not so. "The eyes of man" symbolize cunning and intellectual culture, the very characteristic of "the false prophet" (Revelation 13:13-15; Revelation 16:14). The first beast is physical and political; the second a spiritual power, the power of knowledge, ideas (the favorite term in the French school of politics), and scientific cultivation. Both alike are beasts, from below, not from above; faithful allies, worldly Antichristian wisdom standing in the service of the worldly Antichristian power: the dragon is both lion and serpent: might and cunning are his armory. The dragon gives his external power to the first beast (Revelation 13:2), his spirit to the second, so that it speaks as a dragon (Revelation 13:11). The second, arising out of the earth, is in Revelation 11:7; 17:8, said to ascend out of the bottomless pit: its very culture and world wisdom only intensify its infernal character, the pretense to superior knowledge and rationalistic philosophy (as in the primeval temptation, Genesis 3:5, 7, "their EYES [as here] were opened") veiling the deification of nature, self, and man. Hence spring Idealism, Materialism, Deism, Pantheism, Atheism. Antichrist shall be the culmination. The Papacy's claim to the double power, secular and spiritual, is a sample and type of the twofold beast, that out of the sea, and that out of the earth, or bottomless pit. Antichrist will be the climax, and final form. PRIMASIUS OF ADRUMENTUM, in the sixth century, says, "He feigns to be a lamb that he may assail the Lamb ‹ the body of Christ."

 

12. power ‹ Greek, "authority." before him ‹ "in his presence"; as ministering to, and upholding him. "The non-existence of the beast embraces the whole Germanic Christian period. The healing of the wound and return of the beast is represented [in regard to its final Antichristian manifestation though including also, meanwhile, its healing and return under Popery, which is baptized heathenism] in that principle which, since 1789, has manifested itself in beast-like outbreaks" [AUBERLEN]. which dwell therein ‹ the earthly-minded. The Church becomes the harlot: the world's political power, the Antichristian beast; the world's wisdom and civilization, the false prophet. Christ's three offices are thus perverted: the first beast is the false kingship; the harlot, the false priesthood; the second beast, the false prophet. The beast is the bodily, the false prophet the intellectual, the harlot the spiritual power of Antichristianity [AUBERLEN]. The Old-Testament Church stood under the power of the beast, the heathen world power: the Middle-Ages Church under that of the harlot: in modern times the false prophet predominates. But in the last days all these God-opposed powers which have succeeded each other shall co-operate, and raise each other to the most terrible and intense power of their nature: the false prophet causes men to worship the beast, and the beast carries the harlot. These three forms of apostasy are reducible to two: the apostate Church and the apostate world, pseudo-Christianity and Antichristianity, the harlot and the beast; for the false prophet is also a beast; and the two beasts, as different manifestations of the same beast-like principle, stand in contradistinction to the harlot, and are finally judged together, whereas separate judgment falls on the harlot [AUBERLEN]. deadly wound ‹ Greek, "wound of death."

 

13. wonders ‹ Greek, "signs." so that ‹ so great that. maketh fire ‹ Greek, "maketh even fire." This is the very miracle which the two witnesses perform, and which Elijah long ago had performed; this the beast from the bottomless pit, or the false prophet, mimics. Not merely tricks, but miracles of a demoniacal kind, and by demon aid, like those of the Egyptian magicians, shall be wrought, most calculated to deceive; wrought "after the working (Greek, Œenergy') of Satan."

 

14. deceiveth them that dwell on the earth ‹ the earthly-minded, but not the elect. Even a miracle is not enough to warrant belief in a professed revelation unless that revelation be in harmony with God's already revealed will. by the means of those miracles ‹ rather as Greek, "on account of (because of; in consequence of) those miracles." which he had power to do ‹ Greek, "which were given him to do." in the sight of the beast ‹ "before him" (Revelation 13:12). which ‹ A, B, and C read, "who"; marking, perhaps, a personal Antichrist. had ‹ So B and ANDREAS read. But A, C, and Vulgate read, "hath."

 

15. he had power ‹ Greek, "it was given to him." to give life ‹ Greek, "breath," or "spirit." image ‹ Nebuchadnezzar set up in Dura a golden image to be worshipped, probably of himself; for his dream had been interpreted, "Thou art this head of gold"; the three Hebrews who refused to worship the image were east into a burning furnace. All this typifies the last apostasy. PLINY, in his letter to Trajan, states that he consigned to punishment those Christians who would not worship the emperor's image with incense and wine. So JULIAN, the apostate, set up his own image with the idols of the heathen gods in the Forum, that the Christians in doing reverence to it, might seem to worship the idols. So Charlemagne's image was set up for homage; and the Pope adored the new emperor [DUPIN, vol. 6, p. 126]. Napoleon, the successor of Charlemagne, designed after he had first lowered the Pope by removing him to Fontainebleau, then to "make an idol of him" [Memorial de Sainte Helene ]; keeping the Pope near him, he would, through the Pope's influence, have directed the religious, as well as the political world. The revived Napoleonic dynasty may, in some one representative, realize the project, becoming the beast supported by the false prophet (perhaps some openly infidel supplanter of the papacy, under a spiritual guise, after the harlot, or apostate Church, who is distinct from the second beast, has been stripped and judged by the beast, Revelation 17:16); he then might have an image set up in his honor as a test of secular and spiritual allegiance. speak ‹ "False doctrine will give a spiritual, philosophical appearance to the foolish apotheosis of the creaturely personified by Antichrist" [AUBERLEN]. JEROME, on Daniel 7, says, Antichrist shall be "one of the human race in whom the whole of Satan shall dwell bodily." Rome's speaking images and winking pictures of the Virgin Mary and the saints are an earnest of the future demoniacal miracles of the false prophet in making the beast's or Antichrist's image to speak.

 

16. to receive a mark ‹ literally, "that they should give them a mark"; such a brand as masters stamp on their slaves, and monarchs on their subjects. Soldiers voluntarily punctured their arms with marks of the general under whom they served. Votaries of idols branded themselves with the idol's cipher or symbol. Thus Antiochus Epiphanes branded the Jews with the ivy leaf, the symbol of Bacchus (2 Maccabees 6:7; 3 Maccabees 2:29). Contrast God's seal and name in the foreheads of His servants, Revelation 7:3; 14:1; 22:4; and Galatians 6:17, "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus," that is, I am His soldier and servant. The mark in the right hand and forehead implies the prostration of bodily and intellectual powers to the beast's domination. "In the forehead by way of profession; in the hand with respect to work and service" [AUGUSTINE].

 

17. And ‹ So A, B, and Vulgate read. C, IRENAEUS, 316, Coptic, and Syriac omit it. might buy ‹ Greek, "may be able to buy." the mark, or the name ‹ Greek, "the mark (namely), the name of the beast." The mark may be, as in the case of the sealing of the saints in the forehead, not a visible mark, but symbolical of allegiance. So the sign of the cross in Popery. The Pope's interdict has often shut out the excommunicate from social and commercial intercourse. Under the final Antichrist this shall come to pass in its most violent form. number of his name ‹ implying that the name has some numerical meaning.

 

18. wisdom ‹ the armory against the second beast, as patience and faith against the first. Spiritual wisdom is needed to solve the mystery of iniquity, so as not to be beguiled by it. count . . . for ‹ The "for" implies the possibility of our calculating or counting the beast's number. the number of a man ‹ that is, counted as men generally count. So the phrase is used in Revelation 21:17. The number is the number of a man, not of God; he shall extol himself above the power of the Godhead, as the MAN of sin [AQUINAS]. Though it is an imitation of the divine name, it is only human. six hundred threescore and six ‹ A and Vulgate write the numbers in full in the Greek. But B writes merely the three Greek letters standing for numbers, Ch, X, St. "C reads" 616, but IRENAEUS, 328, opposes this and maintains "666." IRENAEUS, in the second century, disciple of POLYCARP, John's disciple, explained this number as contained in the Greek letters of Lateinos (L being thirty; A, one; T, three hundred; E, five; I, ten; N, fifty; O, seventy; S, two hundred). The Latin is peculiarly the language of the Church of Rome in all her official acts; the forced unity of language in ritual being the counterfeit of the true unity; the premature and spurious anticipation of the real unity, only to be realized at Christ's coming, when all the earth shall speak "one language" (Zephaniah 3:9). The last Antichrist may have a close connection with Rome, and so the name Lateinos (666) may apply to him. The Hebrew letters of Balaam amount to 666 [BUNSEN]; a type of the false prophet, whose characteristic, like Balaam's, will be high spiritual knowledge perverted to Satanic ends. The number six is the world number; in 666 it occurs in units, tens, and hundreds. It is next neighbor to the sacred seven, but is severed from it by an impassable gulf. It is the number of the world given over to judgment; hence there is a pause between the sixth and seventh seals, and the sixth and seventh trumpets. The judgments on the world are complete in six; by the fulfilment of seven, the kingdoms of the world become Christ's. As twelve is the number of the Church, so six, its half, symbolizes the world kingdom broken. The raising of the six to tens and hundreds (higher powers) indicates that the beast, notwithstanding his progression to higher powers, can only rise to greater ripeness for judgment. Thus 666, the judged world power, contrasts with the 144,000 sealed and transfigured ones (the Church number, twelve, squared and multiplied by one thousand, the number symbolizing the world pervaded by God; ten, the world number, raised to the power of three the number of God) [AUBERLEN]. The "mark" (Greek, "charagma ") and "name" are one and the same. The first two radical letters of Christ (Greek, "Christos "), Ch and R, are the same as the first two of charagma, and were the imperial monogram of Christian Rome. Antichrist, personating Christ, adopts a symbol like, but not agreeing with, Christ's monogram, Ch, X, St; whereas the radicals in "Christ" are Ch, R, St. Papal Rome has similarly substituted the standard of the Keys for the standard of the Cross; so on the papal coinage (the image of power, Matthew 22:20). The two first letters of "Christ," Ch, R, represent seven hundred, the perfect number. The Ch, X, St represent an imperfect number, a triple falling away (apostasy) from septenary perfection [WORDSWORTH].


 

 

Barnes' Notes on The New Testament

 

REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE

 

Chapter 13

 

Analysis of the Chapter

 

This chapter is closely connected with chap. xii., which is properly introductory to this and to the subsequent portions of the book to chap. xx. See the Analysis of the book. The vision in this chapter is of two distinct "beasts," each with peculiar characteristics, yet closely related, deriving their power from a common source; aiding each other in the accomplishment of the same object, and manifestly relating to the same power under different forms. To see the design of the chapter, it will be necessary to exhibit the peculiar characteristics of the two "beasts," and the points in which they resemble each other, and sustain each other.

              I. The characteristics of the beasts.

              A. The characteristics of the first beast, Rev. 13:1-10.

              (a) It comes up out of the sea, (Rev. 13:1)‹out of the commotion, the agitation of nations‹a new power that springs up from those disturbed elements.

              (b) It has seven heads, and ten horns, and upon its horns ten crowns or diadems, Rev. 13:1.

              (c) In its general form, it resembles a leopard; its feet are like those of a bear; its mouth like that of a lion. Its connexion with the great "dragon"‹with Satan‹is indicated by, the statement that it derives its "power, and its seat, and its authority from him, (Rev. 13:2;) a striking representation of the fact that the civil or secular Roman power which supported the church of Rome through all its corrupt and bloody progress was the putting forth of the power of Satan on the earth.

              (d) One of the heads of this beast is "wounded to death;" that is, with a wound that is in itself mortal. This wound is, however, in some way as yet unexplained, so healed that the vitality yet remains, and all the world pays homage to the beast, Rev. 13:3. A blow is aimed at this authority which seems to be fatal; and there is some healing or restorative process by which its power is recovered, and by which the universality of its dominion and influence is again restored.

              (e) The effect of this is, that the world renders homage really to the "dragon," the source of this power, though in the form of adoration of the "beast," re 13:4. That is, while the outward homage is rendered to the "beast," the real worship is that of the "dragon," or Satan. This beast is regarded as

              (1) incomparable‹"Who is like unto the "beast?" and

              (2) invincible‹"Who is able to war with him?"

              (f) In this form the beast is endowed with a mouth that "speaks great things and blasphemies," Rev. 13:5; that is, the power here referred to is arrogant, and reviles the God of heaven.

              (g) The time during which he is to continue is "forty and two months;" that is, twelve hundred and sixty days, or twelve hundred and sixty years. See Note on Rev. 11:2.

              (h) The characteristics of this beast, and of his dominion, are these:

              (1.) He opens his mouth in blasphemy against God, and his church, and all holy beings, Rev. 13:6.

              (2.) He makes war with the saints and overcomes them, Rev. 13:7.

              (3.) He asserts his power over all nations, Rev. 13:7.

              (4.) He is worshipped by all that dwell on the earth, whose names are not in the book of life, Rev. 13:8.

              (i) All are called on to hear‹as if the announcement were important for the church, Rev. 13:9.

              (j) The result or issue of the power represented by this monster, Rev. 13:10. It had led others into captivity, it would itself be made captive; it had been distinguished for slaying others, it would itself feel the power of the sword. Until this is accomplished, the patience and faith of the saints must be sorely tried, Rev. 13:10.

              B. The characteristics of the second beast, Rev. 13:11-18.

              (a) It comes out of the earth, (Rev. 13:11)‹having a different origin from the former; not springing from troubled elements, as of nations at strife, but from that which is firm and established‹like the solid earth.

              (b) It has two horns like a lamb, but it speaks as a dragon, Rev. 13:11. It is apparently mild, gentle, lamb-like, and inoffensive; but it is, in fact, arrogant, haughty, and imperative.

              (c) Its dominion is co-extensive with that of the first beast, and the effect of its influence is to induce the world to do homage to the first beast, Rev. 13:12.

              (d) It has the power of performing great wonders, and particularly of deceiving the world by the "miracles" which it performs. This power is particularly manifested in restoring what might be regarded as an "image" of the beast which was wounded, though not put to death, and by giving life to that image, and causing those to be put to death who will not worship it, Rev. 13:13-15.

              (e) This beast causes a certain mark to be affixed to all, small and great, and attempts a jurisdiction over all persons, so that none may buy or sell, or engage in any business, who have not the mark affixed to them; that is, the power represented attempts to set up a control over the commerce of the world, Rev. 13:16, 17.

              (f) The way by which the power here referred to may be known is by some proper application of the number 666. This is stated in an enigmatical form, and yet with such clearness that it is supposed that it would be sufficient to indicate the power here referred to.

              II. Points in which the two beasts resemble or sustain each other. It is manifest on the slightest inspection of the characteristics of the "beasts" referred to in this chapter, that they have a close relation to each other; that, in important respects, the one is designed to sustain the other, and that both are manifestations or embodiments of that one and the same power represented by the "dragon," Rev. 13:4. He is the great original source of power to both, and both are engaged in accomplishing his purposes, and are combined to keep up his dominion over the earth. The points of resemblance which it is very important to notice are the following:‹

              (1.) They have the same origin; that is, they both owe their power to the "dragon," and are designed to keep up his ascendency in human affairs, Rev. 12:3; 13:2, 4, 12.

              (2.) They have the same extent of power and dominion.

FIRST BEAST          SECOND BEAST The world wonders after the He exercises all the power of beast, Rev. 13:3. They worship the first beast, Rev. 3:12. He the dragon and the beast causes the earth and them which dwell Rev. 13:4, and all that dwell therein to worship the first beast. upon the earth shall worship him Rev. 13:12. He has power to give Rev. 13:8 life unto the image of the beast

Rev. 13:15. He sets up jurisdiction

over the commerce of the world

Rev. 13:16, 17

              (3.) They do the same things.

First Beast     Second Beast The dragon gives power to the He exercises all the power of beast, ver. 4. There is given unto the first beast, ver. 12. He does him a mouth speaking great things great wonders, ver. 13. He makes and blasphemies, ver. 5. He opens fire come down from heaven in his mouth in blasphemy against the sight of men, ver. 13. He God, ver. 6. It is given him to performs miracles, ver. 14. He make war with the saints, and to causes that as many as would not overcome them, ver. 7. worship the first beast should be killed, ver. 15. He claims dominion over all, vers. 16, 17.

              (4.) The one is the means of healing the wounded head of the other, and of restoring its authority.

FIRST BEAST          SECOND BEAST One of his heads is, as it were, Has power to heal the wound wounded to death: a wound that of the first beast, ver. 12; for it would be mortal if it were not is manifest that the healing healed ver. 3. comes from some influence of the second beast.

              (5.) The one restores life to the other when dying.

FIRST BEAST          SECOND BEAST Is wounded, ver. 3, and his Causes an "image" of the first power manifestly becomes exhausted. beast- something that should resemble that, or be the same power revived, to be made, and to be worshipped, ver. 15.

              (6.) They have the same general characteristics.

FIRST BEAST          SECOND BEAST Has a mouth given him to speak Speaks like a dragon, ver. 11; great things and blasphemies, ver. deceives those that dwell upon 5; opens his mouth in blasphemy, the earth, ver. 14; is a persecut- ver. 6; blasphemes the name of ing power‹causing those who God, and his tabernacle, and his would not worship the image of people, ver. 6; makes war with the the first beast to be killed, ver. saints and overcomes them, ver. 7. 15.

              From this comparison of the two beasts, the following things are plain:

              (1.) That the same general power is referred to, or that they are both modifications of one general dominion on the earth: having the same origin, having the same locality, and aiming at the same result.

              (2.) It is the same general domination prolonged; that is, the one is, in another form, but the continuation of the other.

              (3.) The one becomes weak, or is in some way likely to lose its authority and power, and is revived by the other; that is, the other restores its waning authority, and sets up substantially the same dominion again over the earth, and causes the same great power to be acknowledged on the earth.

              (4.) The one runs into the other; that is, one naturally produces, or is followed by the other.

              (5.) One sustains the other.

              (6.) They, therefore, have a very close relation to each other: having the same object; possessing the same general characteristics; and accomplishing substantially the same thing on the earth. What this was, will be better seen after the exposition of the chapter shall have been made. It may be sufficient here to remark, that, on the very face of this statement, it is impossible not to have the Roman power suggested to the mind, as a mighty persecuting power, in the two forms of the civil and ecclesiastical authority, both having the same origin; aiming at the same object; the one sustaining the other; and both combined to keep up the dominion of the great enemy of God and man upon the earth. It is impossible, also, not to be struck with the resemblance, in many particulars, between this vision and that of Daniel, Dan. 7 and to be impressed with the conviction that they are intended to refer to the same kingdom in general, and to the same events. But this will be made more manifest in the exposition of the chapter.

 

1. And I stood upon the sand of the sea. The sand upon the shore of the sea. That is, he seemed to stand there, and then had a vision of a beast rising out of the waters. The reason of this representation may, perhaps, have been that among the ancients the sea was regarded as the appropriate place for the origin of huge and terrible monsters.‹Prof. Stuart, in loc. This vision strongly resembles that in Dan. 7:2, seq., where the prophet saw four beasts coming up in succession from the sea. See Note on Dan. 7:2.

              In Daniel, the four winds of heaven are described as striving upon the great sea, (Dan. 7:2,) and the agitated ocean represents the nations in commotion, or in a state of disorder and anarchy, and the four beasts represent four successive kingdoms that would spring up. See Note on Dan. 7:2.

              In the passage before us, John indeed describes no storm or tempest, but the sea itself, as compared with the land (See Note on Rev. 13:11) represents an agitated or unsettled state of things, and we should naturally look for that in the rise of the power here referred to. If the reference be to the civil or secular Roman power that has always appeared in connexion with the Papacy, and that has always followed its designs, then it is true that it rose amidst the agitations of the world, and from a state of commotion that might well be represented by the restless ocean. The sea in either case naturally describes a nation or people, for this image is frequently so employed in the Scriptures. Compare as above, Dan. 7:2; Psa. 65:7; Isa. 60:5; Rev. 10:2.

              The natural idea, therefore, in this passage, would be that the power that was represented by the "beast" would spring up among the nations, when restless or unsettled, like the waves of the ocean.

              And saw a beast. Daniel saw four in succession, (Dan. 7:3-7,) all different, yet succeeding each other; John saw two in succession, yet strongly resembling each other, Rev. 13:1, 11. On the general meaning of the word beast‹qhrion‹See Note on Rev. 11:7.

              The beast here is evidently a symbol of some power or kingdom that would arise in future times. See Note on Dan. 7:3.

              Having seven heads. So also the dragon is represented in Rev. 12:3.

               See Note on Rev. 12:3.

              The representation there is of Satan, as the source of all the power lodged in the two beasts that John subsequently saw. In Rev. 17:9, referring substantially to the same vision, it is said that "the seven heads are seven mountains;" and that there can be no difficulty, therefore, in referring this to the seven hills on which the city of Rome was built, (compare Note on Rev. 12:3,) and consequently this must be regarded as designed, in some way, to be a representation of Rome.

              And ten horns. See this also explained in See Note on Rev. 12:3.

              Compare also the more extended illustration in See Note on Dan. 7:25, seq. The reference here is to Rome, or the one Roman power, contemplated as made up of ten subordinate kingdoms, and therefore subsequently to the invasion of the Northern hordes, and to the time when the Papacy was about to rise. Compare Rev. 17:12: "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, [marg. kingdoms,] which have received no kingdom as yet, but receive power as kings with the beast." For a full illustration of this, see Notes on Daniel 7.

              And upon his horns ten crowns. Greek, ten diadems. See Note on Rev. 12:3.

              These indicated dominion or authority. In Rev. 12:3, the "dragon is represented as having seven diadems on his head; here, the beast is represented as having ten. The dragon there represents the Roman domination as such, the seven-hilled, or seven-headed power, and, therefore, properly described as having seven diadems; the beast here represents the Roman power, as now broken up into the ten dominations which sprung up (see notes on Daniel as above) from the one original Roman power, and that became henceforward the supporters of the Papacy, and, therefore, properly represented here as having ten diadems. And upon his heads the name of blasphemy. That is, the whole power was blasphemous in its claims and pretensions. The word blasphemy here seems to be used in the sense that titles and attributes were claimed by it which belonged only to God. On the meaning of the word blasphemy, See Notes on Matt. 9:3; Matt. 26:65.

              The meaning here is, that each one of these heads appeared to have a frontlet, with an inscription that was blasphemous, or that ascribed some attribute to this power that properly belonged to God; and that the whole power thus assumed was in derogation of the attributes and claims of God. In regard to the propriety of this description considered as applicable to the Papacy, See Notes on 2Thess. 2:4.

 

2. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard. For a description of the leopard, See Note on Dan. 7:6.

              It is distinguished for bloodthirstiness and cruelty, and thus becomes all emblem of a fierce, tyrannical power. In its general character it resembles a lion, and the lion and the leopard are often referred to together. In this description, it is observable that John has combined in one animal or monster, all those which Daniel brought successively on the scene of action as representing different empires. Thus in Daniel (Dan. 7:2-7) the lion is introduced as the symbol of the Babylonian power; the bear, as the symbol of the Medo-Persian; the leopard, as the symbol of the Macedonian; and a nondescript animal, fierce, cruel, and mighty, with two horns, as the symbol of the Roman. See Note on Dan. 7:2-7.

              In John there is one animal representing the Roman power, as if it were made up of all these: a leopard with the feet of a bear, and the mouth of a lion, with two horns, and with the general description of a fierce monster. There was an obvious propriety in this, in speaking of the Roman power, for it was, in fact, made up of the empires represented by the other symbols in Daniel, and "combined in itself all the elements of the terrible and the oppressive, which had existed in the aggregate in the other great empires that preceded it." At the same time, there was an obvious propriety in the symbol itself; for the bloodthirstiness and cruelty of the leopard would well represent the ferocity and cruelty of the Roman power, especially as John saw it here as the great antagonistic power of the true church, sustaining the Papal claim, and thirsting for blood.

              And his feet were as the feet of a bear. See Note on Dan. 7:5.

              The idea here seems to be that of strength, as the strength of the bear resides much in its feet and claws. At the same time, there is the idea of a combination of fierce qualities‹as if the bloodthirstiness, the cruelty, and the agility of the leopard were united with the strength of the bear.

              And his mouth as the mouth of a lion. See Note on Dan. 7:4.

              The mouth of the lion is made to seize and hold its prey, and is indicative of the character of the animal as a beast of prey. John has thus brought together the qualities of activity, bloodthirstiness, strength, ferocity, all as symbolical of the power that was intended to be represented. It is hardly necessary to say that this description is one that would apply well, in all respects, to Rome; nor is it necessary to say, that if it be supposed that he meant to refer to Rome, this is such a description as he would have adopted.

              And the dragon. See Note on Rev. 12:3.

              Gave him his power. Satan claimed, in the time of the Saviour, all power over the kingdoms of the world, and asserted that he could give them to whomsoever he pleased. See Note on Matt. 4:8-9.

              How far the power of Satan in this respect may extend, it may not be possible to determine; but it cannot be doubted that the Roman power seemed to have such an origin, and that in the main it was such as, on that supposition, it would be. In its arrogance and haughtiness‹in its thirst for dominion‹in its persecutions‹it had such characteristics as we may suppose Satan would originate. If, therefore, as the whole connexion leads us to suppose this refers to the Roman secular power, considered as the support of the Papacy, there is the most evident propriety in the representation.

              And the seat. qronon. Hence our word throne. The word properly means a seat; then a high seat; then a throne, as that on which a king sits. Here it refers to this power as exercising dominion on the earth.

              And great authority. The authority was great. It extended over a large part of the earth, and alike in its extent and character, it was such as we may suppose Satan would set up in the world.

 

3. And I saw one of his heads, as it were wounded to death. The phrase "wounded to death" means properly that it received a mortal wound; that is, that the wound would have been mortal if it had not been healed. A blow was struck that would be naturally fatal, but there was something that prevented the fatal result. John does not say, however, by whom the wound was inflicted, nor does he describe farther the nature of the wound. He says that "one of the heads"‹that is, one of the seven heads‹was thus wounded. In Rev. 17:9, he says that "the seven heads are seven mountains in which the woman sitteth." In Rev. 17:10, he says, "there are seven kings." And this would lead us to suppose that there were "seven" administrations, or forms of dominion, or dynasties, that were presented to the eye of John; and that while the number "seven," as applied to to the "heads," so far identified the power as to fix its location on the seven "hills," (Rev. 17:9) in another respect also the number "seven" suggested forms of administration or dynasties, Rev. 17:10. What is meant by saying that one of these heads was wounded to death has been among the most perplexing of all the inquiries pertaining to the book of Revelation. The use of the word seven, and the explanation in Rev. 17:9, make it morally certain that Rome, in some form of its administration, is referred to. Of this there can be no doubt, and in this all are agreed. It is not, however, the Papal power as such that is here referred to; for

              (a) the Papal power is designated under the image of the second beast;

              (b) the descriptions pertaining to the first beast are all applicable to a secular power; and

              (c) there was no form of the Papal spiritual dominion which would properly correspond with what is said in Rev. 17:10. The reference in this place is, therefore, to Rome considered as a civil or secular power, yet Rome regarded as giving support to the second beast‹the Papal power. The general idea here is, that a state of things would exist in regard to that power, at the time referred to, as if one of the seven heads of the monster should receive a wound which would be fatal, if it were not healed in some way. That is, its power would be weakened; its dominion would be curtailed, and that portion of its power would have come to an end, if there had not been something which would, as it were, restore it, and save it from the wrath that was impending, The great point of difficulty relates to the particular application of this; to the facts in history that would correspond with the symbol. On this there have been almost as many opinions as there have been interpreters of the Apocalypse, and there is no impropriety in saying that none of the solutions are wholly free from objection. The main difficulty, so far as the interpretation proposed above is concerned, is, in the fact that "one" of the seven heads is referred to as wounded unto death; as if one-seventh part of the power was endangered. I confess I am not able wholly to solve this difficulty; but, after all, is it certain that the meaning is that just one-seventh part of the power was in peril; that the blow affected just such a portion that it might be described as the one-seventh part? Is not the number seven so used in the Scriptures as to denote a considerable portion‹a portion quite material and important? And may not all that is intended here be that John saw a wound inflicted on that mighty power which would have been fatal if it had not been marvellously healed? And was it not true that the Roman civil and secular power was so waning and decaying that it might properly be represented as if one of the seven heads of the monster had received a fatal wound, until its power was restored by the influence of the spiritual domination of the church of Rome? If this be the correct exposition, then what is implied here may be thus stated:

              (a) The general subject of the representation is the Roman power, as seen at first in its rigour and strength;

              (b) then that power is said to be greatly weakened, as if one of its heads were smitten with a deadly wound;

              (c) then the wound was healed‹this power was restored‹by being brought into alliance with the Papacy; that is, the whole Roman power over the world would have died away, if it had not been restored and perpetuated by means of this new and mighty influence, Rev. 13:12. Under this new form, Rome had all the power which it had ever had, and was guilty of all the atrocities of which it had ever been guilty: it was Rome still. Every wound that was inflicted on that power by the incursion of barbarians, and by the dividing off of parts of the empire, was healed by the Papacy, and under this form its dominion became as wide and as formidable as under its ancient mode of administration. If a more particular application of this is sought for, I see no reason to doubt that it may be found in the quite common interpretation of the passage given by Protestants, that the reference is to the forms of administration under which this power appeared in the world. The number of distinct forms of government which the Roman power assumed from first to last was the following: kings, consuls, dictators, deceivers, military tribunes, emperors. These seven forms of administration were, at least, sufficiently prominent and marked to be represented by this symbol, or to attract the attention of one contemplating this formidable power‹for it was under these forms that its conquests had been achieved, and its dominion set up over the earth. In the time of John, and the time contemplated in this vision, all these had passed away but the imperial. That, too, was soon to be smitten with a deadly wound by the invasion of the Northern hordes; and that would have wholly and for ever ceased if it had not been restored‹the deadly wound being healed‹by the influence of the Papal power, giving Rome its former ascendency. See Note on Rev. 13:15.

              And his deadly wound was healed. That is, as explained above, the waning Roman secular power was restored by its connexion with the spiritual power‹the Papacy. This was

              (a) a simple matter of fact, that the waning secular power of Rome was thus restored by connecting itself with the spiritual or ecclesiastical power, thus prolonging what might properly be called the Roman domination far beyond what it would otherwise have been; and

              (b) this would be properly represented by just the symbol employed here‹the fatal wound inflicted on the head, and the healing of that wound, or preventing what would naturally be the effects. On the fulfilment of this, See Note on Rev. 13:15, at the close.

              And all the world wondered after the beast. The word here used‹qaumazw‹means, properly, to be astonished; to be amazed; then to wonder at; then to admire and follow.‹Rob. Lex. In Rev. 13:4, it is said that the world "worshipped" the beast; and the general idea is, that the beast received such a universal reverence, or inspired such universal awe, as to be properly called worship or adoration. There can be no doubt of the propriety of this, considered as applicable to that secular Roman power which sustained the Papacy. The homage was as wide as the limits of the Roman empire had ever been, and might be said to embrace "all the world."

 

4. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast. See Notes on Rev. 12:3; Rev. 13:2.

              That is, they in fact worshipped him. The word worship‹troskunew‹is not always, however, used in a religious sense. It means, properly, to kiss; to kiss towards any one; that is, to kiss his own hand and to extend it towards a person, in token of respect and homage.‹Rob. Lex. Compare Job 31:27. Then it means to show respect to one who is our superior; to kings and princes; to parents; and pre-eminently to God. See Note on Matt. 2:2.

              The word may be used here to mean that homage or reverence, as to a higher power, was rendered to the "dragon;" not strictly that he was openly worshipped in a religious sense as God. Can any one doubt that this was the case under Papal Rome; that the power which was set up under that entire domination, civil and ecclesiastical, was such as Satan approved, and such as he sought to have established on the earth? And can any one doubt that the homage thus rendered, so contrary to the law of God, and so much in derogation of his claims, was in fact homage rendered to this presiding spirit of evil?

              And they worshipped the beast. That is, they did it, as is immediately specified, by saying that he was incomparable and invincible; in other words, that he was superior to all others, and that he was almighty. For the fulfilment of this, See Note on 2 Thess. 2:4.

              Who is like unto the beast? That is, he is to be regarded as unequalled and as supreme. This was, in fact, ascribing honours to him which belonged only to God; and this was the manner in which that civil and secular power was regarded in the period here supposed to be referred to. It was the policy of rulers and princes in those times to augment in every way possible the respect in which they were held; to maintain that they were the vicegerents of heaven; to claim for themselves sacredness of character and of person; and to secure from the people a degree of reverence which was in fact idolatrous. Never was this more marked than in the times when the Papacy had the ascendency, for it was its policy to promote reverence for the power that sustained itself, and to secure for itself the idolatrous veneration of the people.

              Who is able to make war with him? That is, he is invincible. They thus attributed to him omnipotence‹an attribute belonging only to God. This found a fulfilment in the honour shown to the civil authority which sustained the Papacy; for the policy was to impress the public mind with the belief that that power was invincible. In fact, it was so regarded. Nothing was able to resist that absolute despotism; and the authority of princes and rulers that were allied with the Papal rule was of the most absolute kind, and the subjugation of the world was complete. There was no civil, as there was no-religious liberty; and the whole arrangement was so ordered as to subdue the world to an absolute and uncontrollable power.

 

5. And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things. John does not say by whom this was given; but we may suppose that it was by the "dragon," who is said (Rev. 13:2) to have given him his power, and seat, and authority. The fulfilment of this is found in the claims set up by the princes and rulers here referred to‹that mighty secular power that sustained the Papacy, and that was, in some sort, a part of the Papacy itself. These arrogant claims consisted in the assertion of a Divine right; in the power assumed over the liberty, the property, and the consciences of the people; in the arbitrary commands that were issued; and in the right asserted of giving absolute law. The language here used is the same as that which is found in Daniel (Dan. 7:8) when speaking of the little horn: "In this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things." For and illustration of the meaning of this, See Note on Dan. 7:8.

              Compare Note on Dan. 7:25.

              And blasphemies. That is, the whole power represented by the "beast" will be blasphemous. See Note on Rev. 13:1.

              Compare Note on Dan. 7:25.

              And power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. Three years and a half, reckoned as months; or twelve hundred and sixty days, reckoning thirty days for a month; or twelve hundred and sixty years, regarding the days as prophetic days. For the evidence that this is to be so regarded, See Note on Dan. 7:25.

              This is the same period that we meet with in Rev. 11:2, and in Rev. 12:6. See Note on Rev. 11:2.

              This fact proves that the same power is referred to in these places and in Daniel; and this fact may be regarded as a confirmation of the views here taken that the power here referred to is designed to have a connexion in some form with the Papacy. The duration of the existence of this power is the same as that which is everywhere ascribed to the Papacy, in the passages which refer to it; and all the circumstances, as before remarked, show that the same general power is referred to by the two "beasts" which are described in this chapter. If so, the continuance or duration may be supposed to be the same; and this is indicated in the passage before us, where it is said that it would be twelve hundred and sixty years. In regard to the application of this to the Papal power, and the manner in which the calculation is to be made of the duration of that power, See Note on Dan. 7:25, and the remarks at the end of that chapter. The meaning in the passage before us I take to be, that the Papal power, considered as a civil or secular institution, will have, from the time when that properly commenced, a duration of twelve hundred and sixty years. In the Scriptures there is nothing more definite in regard to any future event than this.

 

6. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name. By his own arrogant claims; by his assumed authority in matters of conscience; by setting aside the Divine authority; and by impious declarations in derogation of the Divine claims. See Note on Rev. 13:1.

              And his tabernacle. Literally, "his tentskhnhn. This is the word which is commonly applied to the sacred tent or tabernacle among the Hebrews, in which the ark was kept, and which was the seat of the Jewish worship before the building of the temple. It is thus used to denote a place of worship, considered as the dwelling-place of God, and is in this sense applied to heaven, Heb. 8:2; 9:11; Rev. 15:5.

              It seems to be used here in a general sense to denote the place where God was worshipped; and the meaning is, that there would be a course of conduct in regard to the true church‹the dwelling-place of God on the earth‹which could properly be regarded as blasphemy. Let any one remember the anathemas and excommunications uttered against the Waldenses and Albigenses, and those of kindred spirit that appeared in the long period of the Papal rule, and he will find no difficulty in perceiving a complete fulfilment of all that is here said.

              And them that dwell in heaven. The true worshippers; the members of the true church, represented as dwelling in this holy tabernacle. No one acquainted with the reproaches cast on the devoted and sincere followers of the Saviour, during the dark periods of the Papal rule, can fail to see that there was, in that, a complete fulfilment of all that is here predicted.

 

7. And it was given unto him. By the same power that taught him to blaspheme God and his church. See Notes on Rev. 12:2, 5.

              To make war with the saints. See this fully illustrated in See Note on Dan. 7:21, and at the end of that chapter.

              And to overcome them. In those wars. This was abundantly fulfilled in the wars with the Waldenses, the Albigenses, and the other sincere followers of the Saviour in the time of the Papal persecutions. The language here used is the same as that which is found in Dan. 7:21: "The same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them."

              And power was given him. See Note on Rev. 13:2.

              Over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. For the meaning of these words, See Note on Rev. 7:9.

              The meaning here is, that this dominion was set up over the world. Compare Dan. 7:25. The fact that so large a portion of the kingdoms of the earth was under the influence of the Papacy, and sustained it; and the claim which it set up to universal dominion, and to the right of deposing kings, and giving away kingdoms, corresponds entirely with the language here used.

 

8. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him. That is, as immediately stated, all whose names are not in the book of life. On the word worship, See Note on Rev. 13:4.

              Whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb. That is, of the Lord Jesus‹the Lamb of God. See Note on Phil. 4:3.

              Compare Note on John 1:29.

              The representation here is, that the Lord Jesus keeps a book or register, in which are recorded the names of all who shall obtain everlasting life.

              Slain from the foundation of the world. See Note on Rev. 5:6.

              Compare Note on Rev. 3:5.

              The meaning here is, not that he was actually put to death "from the foundation of the world," but that the intention to give him for a sacrifice was formed then, and that it was so certain that it might be spoken of as actually then occurring. See Rom. 4:17. The purpose was so certain; it was so constantly represented by bloody sacrifices from the earliest ages, all typifying the future Saviour, that it might be said that he was "slain from the foundation of the world." Prof. Stuart, however, (Com. in loc.,) supposes that this phrase should be connected with the former member of the sentence‹" whose names are not written, from the foundation of the world, in the life-book of the Lamb which was slain." Either construction makes good sense; but it seems to me that that which is found in our common version is the most simple and natural.

 

9. If any man have an ear, let him hear. See Note on Rev. 2:7.

              The idea here is, that what was here said respecting the "beast" was worthy of special attention, as it pertained to most important events in the history of the church.

 

10. He that leadeth into captivity. This is clearly intended to refer to the power or government which is denoted by the beast. The form of the expression here in the Greek is peculiar‹"if any one leadeth into captivity," etc.‹Ei tiß aicmalwsian sunagei. The statement is general, and it is intended to make use of a general or prevalent truth with reference to this particular case. The general truth is, that men will, in the course of things, be dealt with according to their character and their treatment of others; that nations characterized by war and conquest will be subject to the evils of war and conquest‹or that they may expect to share the same lot which they have brought on others. This general statement accords with what the Saviour says in Matt. 26:52: "All they that take the sword, shall perish with the sword." This has been abundantly illustrated in the world; and it is a very important admonition to nations not to indulge in the purposes of conquest, and to individuals not to engage in strife and litigation. The particular idea here is, that it would be a characteristic of the power here referred to, that it would "lead others into captivity." This would be fulfilled if it was the characteristic of this power to invade other countries, and to make their inhabitants prisoners of war; if it made slaves of other people; if it set up an unjust dominion over other people; or if it was distinguished for persecuting and imprisoning the innocent, or for depriving the nations of liberty. It is unnecessary to say that this is strikingly descriptive of Rome‹considered in any and every point of view‹whether under the republic or the empire; whether secular or ecclesiastical; whether Pagan or Papal. In the following forms there has been a complete fulfilment under that mighty power of what is here said:

              (a) In the desire of conquest, or of extending its dominion, and, of course, leading others captive as prisoners of war, or subjecting them to slavery.

              (b) In its persecutions of true Christians‹alike pursued under the Pagan and the Papal form of the administration.

              (c) Especially in the imprisonments practised under the Inquisition‹where tens of thousands have been reduced to the worst kind of captivity. In every way this description is applicable to Rome, as seeking to lead the world captive, or to subject it to its own absolute sway.

              Shall go into captivity. As a just recompense for subjecting others to bondage, and as an illustration of a general principle of the Divine administration. This is yet, in a great measure, to be fulfilled; and, as I understand it, it discloses the manner in which the Papal secular power will come to an end. It will be by being subdued, so that it might seem to be made captive, and led off by some victorious host. Rome now is practically held in subjection by foreign arms, and has no true independence; perhaps this will be more and more so as its ultimate fall approaches.

              He that killeth with the sword. See Note on Matt. 26:52.

              There can be no doubt that this is applicable to Rome in all the forms of its administration considered as a Pagan power, or considered as a nominally Christian power; either with reference to its secular or its spiritual dominion. Compute the numbers of human beings that have been put to death by that Roman power; and no better language could have been chosen to characterize it than that which is here used‹"killeth with the sword." Compare Note on Dan. 7:24, seq.

              Must be killed with the sword. This domination must be brought to an end by war and slaughter. Nothing is more probable than this in itself; nothing could be more in accordance with the principles of the Divine dealings in the world. Such a power as that of Rome will not be likely to be overcome but by the force of arms; and the probability is, that it will ultimately be overthrown in a bloody revolution, or by foreign conquest. Indeed, there are not a few intimations now that this result is hastening on. Italy is becoming impatient of the secular power swayed in connexion with the Papacy, and sighs for freedom; and it is every way probable that that land would have been free, and that the secular power of the Papacy, if not every form of the Papacy itself, would have come to an end, in the late convulsion (1848) if it had not been for the intervention of France and Austria. The period designated by prophecy for the final overthrow of that power had not arrived; but nothing can secure its continuance for any very considerable period longer.

              Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. That is, the trial of their patience and of their faith. Nowhere on earth have the patience and the faith of the saints been put to a severer test than under the Roman persecutions. The same idea occurs in Rev. 14:12.

 

11. And I beheld another beast. Compare Note on Rev. 13:1.

              This was so distinct from the first that its characteristics could be described, though, there was, in many points, a strong resemblance between them. The relations between the two will be more fully indicated in the Notes.

              Coming up out of the earth. Prof. Stuart renders this, "ascending from the land." The former was represented as rising up out of the sea, (Rev. 13:1;) indicating that the power was to rise from a perturbed or unsettled state of affairs‹like the ocean. This, from that which was more settled and stable‹as the land is more firm than the waters. It may not be necessary to carry out this image; but the natural idea as applied to the two forms of the Roman power supposed to be here referred to, would be that the former‹the secular power that sustained the Papacy‹rose out of the agitated state of the nations in the invasions of the Northern hordes, and the convulsions and revolutions of the falling empire of Rome; and that the latter, the spiritual power itself‹represented by the beast coming up from the land‹grew up under the more settled and stable order of things. It was comparatively calm in its origin, and had less the appearance of a frightful monster rising up from the agitated ocean. Compare Note on Rev. 13:1.

              And he had two horns like a lamb. In some respects he resembled a lamb; that is, he seemed to be a mild, gentle, inoffensive animal. It is hardly necessary to say that this is a most striking representation of the actual manner in which the power of the Papacy has always been put forth‹putting on the apparent gentleness of the lamb; or laying claim to great meekness and humility, even when deposing kings, and giving away crowns, and driving thousands to the stake, or throwing them into the dungeons of the Inquisition.

              And he spake as a dragon. See Note on Rev. 12:3.

              The meaning here is, that he spake in a harsh, haughty, proud, arrogant tone‹as we should suppose a dragon would if he had the power of utterance. The general sense is, that while this "beast" had, in one respect‹in its resemblance to a lamb‹the appearance of great gentleness, meekness, and kindness, it had, in another respect, a haughty, imperious, and arrogant spirit. How appropriate this is, as a symbol, to represent the Papacy, considered as a spiritual power, it is unnecessary to say. It will be admitted, whatever may be thought of the design of this symbol, that if it was in fact intended to refer to the Papacy, a more appropriate one could not have been chosen.

 

12. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him. The same amount of power; the same kind of power. This shows a remarkable relationship between these two beasts; and proves that it was intended to refer to the same power substantially, though manifested in a different form. In the fulfilment of this, we should naturally look for some government whose authority extended far, and which was absolute and arrogant in its character, for this is the power attributed to the first beast. See Note on Rev. 13:2, seq. This description had a remarkable fulfilment in the Papacy, considered as a spiritual dominion. The relation to the secular power is the same as would be indicated by these two beasts; the dominion was as wide-spread; the authority was as absolute and arrogant. In fact, on these points they have been identical. The one has sustained the other; either one would long since have fallen if it had not been upheld by the other. The Papacy, considered as a spiritual domination, was in fact a new power starting up in the same place as the old Roman dominion, to give life to that as it was tending to decay, and to continue its ascendency over the world. These two things, the secular and the spiritual power, constituting the Papacy in the proper sense of the term, are in fact but the continuance or the prolongation of the old Roman dominion‹the fourth kingdom of Daniel‹united so as to constitute in reality but one kingdom, and yet so distinct in their origin, and in their manifestations, as to be capable of separate contemplation and description, and thus properly represented by the two "beasts" that were shown in vision to John.

              And causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast. That is, to respect, to reverence, to honour. The word worship here refers to civil respect, and not to religious adoration. See Note on Rev. 13:4.

              The meaning here, according to the interpretation proposed all along in this chapter, is, that the Papacy, considered in its religious influence, or as a spiritual power‹represented by the second beast‹secured for the civil or secular power‹represented by the first beast‹the homage of the world. It was the means of keeping up that dominion, and of giving it its ascendency among the nations of the earth. The truth of this, as an historical fact, is well known. The Roman civil power would have long ago lost all its influence and been unknown, if it had not been for the Papacy; and, in fact, all the influence which it has had since the irruption of the Northern barbarians, and the changes which their invasion produced, can be traced to that new power which arose in the form of the Papacy‹represented in Daniel (Dan. 7:8) by the "little horn." That new power gave life and energy to the declining influence of Rome, and brought the world again to respect and honour its authority.

              Whose deadly wound was healed. See Note on Rev. 13:3.

              That is, was healed by the influence of this new power represented by the second beast. A state of things occurred, on the rise of that new power, as if a wound in the head, otherwise fatal, was healed. The striking applicability of this to the decaying Roman power‹smitten as with a deadly wound by the blows inflicted by the Northern hordes, and by internal dissensions‹will occur to every one. It was as if a healing process had been imparted by some life-giving power, and, as a consequence, the Roman dominion‹the prolongation of Daniel's fourth kingdom‹has continued to the present time. Other kingdoms passed away‹the Assyrian, the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Macedonian; Rome alone, of all the ancient empires, has prolonged its power over men. In all changes elsewhere, an influence has gone forth from the seven-hilled city as wide and as fearful as it was in the brightest days of the republic, the triumvirate, or the empire, and a large part of the world still listens reverently to the mandates which issue from the seat which so long gave law to mankind. The fact that it is so is to be traced solely to the influence of that power represented here by the second beast that appeared in vision to John‹the Papacy.

 

13. And he doeth great wonders. Signs‹shmeia‹the word commonly employed to denote miracles, See Note on Acts 2:19; and the representation here is, that the power referred to by the second beast would found its claim on pretended miracles, and would accomplish an effect on the world as if it actually did work miracles. The applicability of this to Papal Rome no one can doubt. See Note on 2 Thess. 2:9.

              Compare Rev. 13:14.

              That he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. That is, he pretends to do this; he accomplishes an effect as if he did it. It is not necessary to suppose that he actually did this, any more than it is to suppose that he actually performed the other pretended miracles referred to in other places. John describes him as he saw him in the vision; and he saw him laying claim to this power, and actually producing an effect as if by a miracle he actually made fire descend from heaven upon the earth. This is to be understood as included in what the apostle Paul (2 Thess. 2:9) calls "signs and lying wonders," as among the things by which the "man of sin and the son of perdition" would be characterized, and by which he would be sustained. See Note on 2 Thess. 2:9.

              Why this particular pretended miracle is specified here is not certain. It may be because this would be among the most striking and impressive of the pretended miracles wrought‹as if lying beyond all human power‹as Elijah made fire come down from heaven to consume the sacrifice, (1 Kings 18:37-38,) and as the apostles proposed to do on the Samaritans, (Luke 9:54,) as if fire were called down on them from heaven. The phrase "in the sight of men" implies that this would be done publicly, and is such language as would be used of pretended miracles designed for purposes of ostentation. Amidst the multitudes of pretended miracles of the Papacy, it would probably not be difficult to find instances in which the very thing here described was attempted, in which various devices of pyrotechnics were shown off as miracles. For an illustration of the wonders produced in the dark ages in reference to fire, having all the appearance of miracles, and regarded as miracles by the masses of men, the reader is referred to Dr. Brewster's Letters on Natural Magic, particularly Letter xii.

 

14. And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles. Nothing could possibly be more descriptive of the Papacy than this. It has been kept up by deception and delusion, and its pretended miracles have been, and are to this day, the means by which this is done. Any one in the slightest degree acquainted with the pretended miracles practised at Rome, will see the propriety of this description as applied to the Papacy. The main fact here stated, that the Papacy would endeavour to sustain itself by pretended miracles, is confirmed by an incidental remark of Mr. Gibbon, when, speaking of the pontificate of Gregory the Great, he says, "The credulity, or the prudence of Gregory, was always disposed to confirm the truths of religion by the evidence of ghosts, miracles, and resurrections."‹Dec. and Fall. iii. 210. Even within a month of the time that I am writing, (October 5, 1850,) intelligence has been received in this country of extraordinary privileges conferred on some city in Italy, because the eyes of a picture of the Virgin in that city have miraculously moved‹greatly to the "confirmation of the faithful." Such things are constantly occurring; and it is by these that the supremacy of the Papacy has been and is sustained. The "Breviary" teems with examples of miracles wrought by the saints, For instance: St. Francis Xavier turned a sufficient quantity of salt water into fresh to save the lives of five hundred travellers who were dying of thirst, enough being left to allow a large exportation to different parts of the world, where it wrought astonishing cures. St. Raymond de Pennaloft laid his cloak on the sea, and sailed from Majorca to Barcelona, a distance of a hundred and sixty miles, in six hours. St. Juliana lay on her death-bed; her stomach rejected all solid food, and in consequence she was prevented from receiving the Eucharist. In compliance with her earnest solicitations, the consecrated wafer was laid on her breast; the priest prayed; the wafer vanished, and Juliana expired. Many pages might be filled with accounts of modern miracles, of the most ridiculous description, yet believed by Roman Catholics‹the undoubted means by which Papal Rome "deceives the world," and keeps up its ascendency in this age. See Forsyth's Italy, ii. pp. 154-157; Rome in the Nineteenth Century, i. p. 40, 86, ii. p. 356, iii. pp. 193-201; Lady Morgan's Italy, ii. p. 306, iii. p. 189; Graham's Three Months' Residence, etc., p. 241.

              Saying to them that dwell on the earth. That is, as far as its influence would extend. This implies that there would be authority, and that this authority would be exercised to secure this object.

              That they should make an image to the beast. That is, something that would represent the beast, and that might be an object of worship. The word rendered image‹eikwn‹means properly

              (a) an image, effigy, figure, as an idol image or figure;

              (b) a likeness, resemblance, similitude. Here the meaning would seem to be, that, in order to secure the acknowledgment of the beast, and the homage to be rendered to him, there was something like a statue made, or that John saw in vision such a representation; that is, that a state of things existed as if such a statue were made, and men were constrained to acknowledge this. All that is stated here would be fulfilled if the old Roman civil power should become to a large extent dead, or cease to exert its influence over men, and if then the Papal spiritual power should cause a form of domination to exist, strongly resembling the former in its general character and extent, and if it should secure this result‹that the world would acknowledge its sway, or render it homage as it did to the old Roman government. This would receive its fulfilment if it be supposed that the first "beast" represented the ancient Roman civil power as such; that this died away‹as if the head had received a fatal wound; that it was again revived under the influence of the Papacy; and that, under that influence, a civil government strongly resembling the old Roman dominion was caused to exist, depending for its vital energy on the Papacy, and, in its turn, lending its aid to support the Papacy. All this in fact occurred in the decline of the Roman power after the time of Constantine, and its final apparent extinction, as if "wounded to death," in the exile of the last of the emperors, the son of Orestes, who assumed the names of Romulus and Augustus, names which were corrupted, the former by the Greeks into Momyllus, and the latter by the Latins "into the contemptible diminutive Augustulus." See Gibbon, ii, 381. Under him the empire ceased, until it was revived in the days of Charlemagne. In the empire which then sprung up, and which owed much of its influence to the sustaining aid of the Papacy, and which seems to have been made to sustain the Papacy, we discern the "image" of the former Roman power; the prolongation of the Roman ascendency over the world. On the exile of the feeble son of Orestes, (A.D. 476,) the government passed into the hands of Odoacer, "the first Barbarian who reigned in Italy," (Gibbon;) and then the authority was divided among the sovereignties which sprang up after the conquests of the Barbarians, until the "empire" was again restored in the time and the person of Charlemagne. See Gibbon, iii. 344, seq.

              Which had the wound by a sword, and did live. Which had a wound that was naturally fatal, but whose fatal consequences were prevented by the intervention of another power. See Note on Rev. 13:3.

              That is, according to the explanation given above, the Roman imperial power was "wounded with a fatal wound" by the invasions of the Northern hordes‹the sword of the conquerors. Its power, however, was restored by the Papacy, giving life to that which resembled essentially the Roman civil jurisdiction‹the "image" of the former beast; and that power, thus restored, asserted its dominion again, as the prolonged Roman dominion‹the fourth kingdom of Daniel‹over the world. See Note on Dan. 7:19, seq.

 

15. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast. That is, that image of the beast would be naturally powerless, or would have no life in itself. The second beast, however, had power to impart life to it, so that it would be invested with authority, and would exercise that authority in the manner specified. If this refers, as is supposed, to the Roman civil power‹the power of the empire restored‹it would find a fulfilment in some act of the Papacy by which the empire that resembled in the extent of its jurisdiction, and in its general character, the former Roman empire, received some vivifying impulse, or was invested with new power. That is, it would have power conferred on it through the Papacy which it would not have in itself, and which would confirm its jurisdiction. How far events actually occurred corresponding with this, will be considered in the Notes at the close of this verse.

              That the image of the beast should both speak. Should give signs of life; should issue authoritative commands. The speaking here referred to pertains to that which is immediately specified, in issuing a command that they who "would not worship the image of the beast should be killed."

              And cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast. Would not honour it, or acknowledge its authority. The "worship" here referred to is civil, not religious homage, See Note on Rev. 13:4.

              The meaning is, that what is here called the "image of the beast" had power given it, by its connexion with the second "beast," to set up its jurisdiction over men, and to secure their allegiance on pain of death. The power by which this was done was derived from the second beast; the obedience and homage demanded was of the most entire and submissive character; the nature of the government was in a high degree arbitrary; and the penalty enforced for refusing this homage was death. The facts that we are to look for in the fulfilment of this are,

              (1.) that the Roman imperial power was about to expire‹as if wounded to death by the sword;

              (2.) that this was revived in the form of what is here called the "image of the beast"‹that is, in a form closely resembling the former power;

              (3.) that this was done by the agency of the Papal power, represented by the second beast;

              (4.) that the effect of this was to set up over men a wide-extended secular jurisdiction, of a most arbitrary and absolute kind, where the penalty of disobedience to its laws was death, and where the infliction of this was, in fact, to be traced to the influence of the second beast‹that is, the Papal spiritual power. The question now is, whether facts occurred that corresponded with this emblematic representation. Now, as to the leading fact, the decline of the Roman imperial power‹the fatal wound inflicted on that by the "sword" there can be no doubt. In the time of "Augustulus," as above stated, it had become practically extinct‹"wounded as it were to death," and so wounded that it would never have been revived again had it not been for some foreign influence. It is true also, that, when the Papacy arose, the necessity was felt of allying itself with some wide-extended civil or secular dominion, that might be under its own control, and that would maintain its spiritual authority. It is true, also, that the empire was revived‹the very "image" or copy, so far as it could be, of the former Roman power, in the time of Charlemagne, and that the power which was wielded in what was called the "empire," was that which was, in a great measure, derived from the Papacy, and was designed to sustain the Papacy, and was actually employed for that purpose. These are the main facts, I suppose, which are here referred to, and a few extracts from Mr. Gibbon will show with what propriety and accuracy the symbols here employed were used, on the supposition that this was the designed reference.

              (a) The rise, or restoration of this imperial power in the time and the person of Charlemagne. Mr. Gibbon says, (iii. 362,) "It was after the Nicene synod, and under the reign of the pious Irene, that the Popes consummated the separation of Rome and Italy [from the Eastern empire] by the translation of the empire to the less orthodox Charlemagne. They were compelled to choose between the rival nations; religion was not the sole motive of their choice; and while they dissembled the failings of their friends, they beheld with reluctance and suspicion the Catholic virtues of their foes. The difference of language and manners had perpetuated the enmity of the two capitals, [Rome and Constantinople;] and they were alienated from each other by the hostile opposition of seventy years. In that schism, the Romans had tasted of freedom, and the Popes of sovereignty: their submission would have exposed them to the revenge of a jealous tyrant, and the revolution of Italy had betrayed the importance as well as the tyranny of the Byzantine court." Mr. Gibbon then proceeds to state reasons why Charlemagne was selected as the one who was to be placed at the head of the revived imperial power, and then adds, (p. 343,) "The title of patrician was below the merit and greatness of Charlemagne; and it was only by reviving the Western empire that they could pay their obligations, or secure their establishment. By this decisive measure they would finally eradicate the claims of the Greeks; from the debasement of a provincial town the majesty of Rome would be restored; the Latin Christians would be united under a supreme head in their ancient metropolis; and the conquerors of the West would receive their crown from the successors of St. Peter. The Roman church would acquire a zealous and respectable advocate; and, under the shadow of the Carlovingian power, the bishop might exercise, with honour and safety, the government of the city." All this seems as if it were a designed commentary on such expressions as these: "And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast, and causeth the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed," "saying to them that dwell on the earth that they should make an image to the beast which had the wound by a sword, and did live; and he had power to give life unto the image of the beast," etc.

              (b) Its extent. It is said, (Rev. 13:12,) "And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed." Compare Rev. 13:14-15. That is, the extent of the jurisdiction of the revived power, or the restored empire, would be as great as it was before the wound was inflicted. Of the extent of the restored empire under Charlemagne, Mr. Gibbon has given a full account, iii. pp. 546-549. The passage is too long to be copied here in full, and a summary of it only can be given. He says, "The empire was not unworthy of its title; and some of the fairest kingdoms of Europe were the patrimony or the conquest of a prince who reigned at the same time in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Hungary.

              I. The Roman province of Gaul had been transformed into the name and monarchy of FRANCE, etc.

              II. The Saracens had been expelled from France by the grandfather and father of Charlemagne, but they still possessed the greatest part of Spain, from the rock of Gibraltar to the Pyrenees. Amidst their civil divisions, an Arabian emir of Saragossa implored his protection in the diet of Paderborn. Charlemagne undertook the expedition, restored the emir, and, without distinction of faith, impartially crushed the resistance of the Christians, and rewarded the obedience and service of the Mohammedans. In his absence he instituted the Spanish March, which extended from the Pyrenees to the river Ebro: Barcelona was the residence of the French governor; he possessed the counties of Rousillon and Catalonia; and the infant kingdoms of Navarre and Arragon were subject to his jurisdiction.

              III. As king of the Lombards, and patrician of Rome, he reigned over the greatest part of ITALY, a tract of a thousand miles from the Alps to the borders of Calabria, etc.

              IV. Charlemagne was the first who united GERMANY under the same sceptre, etc.

              V. He retaliated on the Avars, or Huns of Pannonia, the same calamities which they had inflicted on the nations: the royal residence of the Chagan was left desolate and unknown; and the treasures, the rapine of two hundred and fifty years, enriched the victorious troops, or decorated the churches of Italy and Gaul. "If we retrace the outlines of the geographical picture," continues Mr. Gibbon, "it will be seen that the empire of the Franks extended, between the east and the west, from the Ebro to the Elbe, or Vistula; between the north and the south, from the duchy of Beneventum to the river Eyder, the perpetual boundary of Germany and Denmark. Two-thirds of the Western empire were subject to Charlemagne, and the deficiency was amply supplied by his command of the inaccessible or invincible nations of Germany."

              (c) The dependence of this civil or revived secular power on the Papacy. "His deadly wound was healed." "And causeth the earth to worship the first beast." "Saying to them that dwell on the earth that they should make an image to the beast." "He had power to give life unto the image of the beast." Thus Mr. Gibbon (iii. 343) says, "From the debasement of a provincial town, the majesty of Rome would be restored; the Latin Christiana would be united under a supreme head, in their ancient metropolis; and the conquerors of the West would receive their crown from the successors of St. Peter." And again (iii. 344) he says, "On the festival of Christmas, the last year of the eighth century, Charlemagne appeared in the church of St. Peter; and to gratify the vanity of Rome, he exchanged the simple dress of his country for the habit of a patrician. After the celebration of the holy mysteries, Leo suddenly placed a precious crown on his head, and the dome resounded with the acclamations of the people, ŒLong life and victory to Charles, the most pious Augustus, crowned by God the great and pacific emperor of the Romans!' The head and body of Charlemagne were consecrated by the royal unction; his coronation oath represents a promise to maintain the faith and privileges of the church; and the first-fruits are paid in rich offerings to the shrine of the apostle. In his familiar conversation the emperor protested his ignorance of the intentions of Leo, which he would have disappointed by his absence on that memorable day. But the preparations of the ceremony must have disclosed the secret; and the journey of Charlemagne reveals his knowledge and expectation; he had acknowledged that the imperial title was the object of his ambition, and a Roman senate had pronounced that it was the only adequate reward of his merit and services." So again Mr. Gibbon, (iii. 360,) speaking of the conquests of Otho, (A.D. 962,) and of his victorious march over the Alps, and his subjugation of Italy, says, "From that memorable era, two maxims of public jurisprudence were introduced by force, and ratified by time.

              I. That the prince who was elected by the German diet, acquired from that instant the subject kingdoms of Italy and Rome.

              II. But that he might not legally assume the titles of emperor and Augustus, till he had received the crown from the hands of the Roman pontiff." In connexion with these quotations from Mr. Gibbon, we may add, from Sigonius, the oath which the emperor took on the occasion of his coronation: "I, the Emperor, do engage and promise, in the name of Christ, before God and the blessed apostle Peter, that I will be a protector and defender of this holy Church of Rome, in all things wherein I can be useful to it, so far as Divine assistance shall enable me, and so far as my knowledge and power can reach." Quoted by Prof. Bush, Hieroph. Nov. 1842, p. 141. We learn, also, from the biographers of Charlemagne that a commemorative coin was struck at Rome under his reign, bearing this inscription, "Renovatio Imperil Romani."‹"Revival of the Roman Empire," ibid. These quotations, whose authority will not be questioned, and whose authors will not be suspected of having had any design to illustrate these passages in the Apocalypse, will serve to confirm what is said in the Notes of the decline and restoration of the Roman secular power; of its dependence on the Papacy to give it life and rigour; and of the fact that it was designed to sustain the Papacy, and to perpetuate the power of Rome. It needs only to be added, that down to the time of Charles the Fifth‹the period of the Reformation‹nothing was more remarkable in history than the readiness of this restored secular power to sustain the Papacy and to carry out its designs; or than the readiness of the Papacy to sustain an absolute civil despotism, and to make the world subject to it by suppressing all attempts in favour of civil liberty.

 

16. And he caused all. He claims jurisdiction, in the matters here referred to, over all classes of persons, and compels them to do his will. This is the second beast, and, according to the interpretation given above, it relates to the Papal power, and to its claim of universal jurisdiction.

              Both small and great. All these expressions are designed to denote universality‹referring to various divisions into which the human family may be regarded as divided. One of those divisions is into "small and great;" that is, into young and old; those small in stature and those large in stature; those of humble, and those of elevated rank.

              Rich and poor. Another way of dividing the human race, and denoting here, as in the former case, all‹for it is a common method, in speaking of mankind, to describe them as "the rich and poor."

              Free and bond. Another method still of dividing the human race embracing all‹for all the dwellers upon the earth are either free or bond. These various forms of expression, therefore, are designed merely to denote, in an emphatic manner, universality. The idea is, that, in the matter referred to, none were exempt, either on account of their exalted rank, or on account of their humble condition; either because they were so mighty as to be beyond control, or so mean and humble as to be beneath notice. And if this refers to the Papacy, every one will see the propriety of the description. The jurisdiction set up by that power has been as absolute over kings as over the feeble and the poor; over masters and their slaves; alike over those in the humblest and in the most elevated walks of life.

              To receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads. The word here rendered mark‹caragma‹occurs only in one place in the New Testament except in the book of Revelation, (Acts 17:29,) where it is rendered graven. In all the other places where it is found, (Rev. 13:16-17; 14:9, 11; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4) it is rendered mark, and is applied to the same thing‹the "mark of the beast." The word properly means something graven or sculptured; hence

              (a) a graving, sculpture, sculptured work, as images or idols;

              (b) a mark cut in or stamped‹as the stamp on coin. Applied to men, it was used to denote some stamp or mark on the hand or elsewhere‹as in the case of a servant on whose hand or arm the name of the master was impressed; or of a soldier on whom some mark was impressed denoting the company or phalanx to which he belonged. It was no uncommon thing to mark slaves or soldiers in this way; and the design was either to denote their ownership or rank, or to prevent their escaping so as not to be detected. (Among the Romans, slaves were stigmatized with the master's name or mark on their foreheads. So Valerius Maximus speaks of the custom for slaves "literatum notis inuri;" and Plautus calls the slave "literatus." Ambrose (De Obit. Valentin.) says, Charactere Domini inscribuntur servuli. Petronius mentions the forehead as the place of the mark: Servitia ecce in frontibus cernitis. In many cases, soldiers bore the emperor's name or mark imprinted on the hand. Actius says, Stigmata vocant quae in facie, vel in alia parte corporis, inscribuntur; qualia sunt militum in manibus. So Ambrose says, Nomine imperatoris signantur milites. Compare Note on Gal. 6:17.

              ) Most of us have seen such marks made on the hands or arms of sailors, in which, by a voluntary tattooing, their names, or the names of their vessels, were written, or the figure of an anchor, or some other device, was indelibly made by punctures in the skin, and by inserting some kind of colouring matter. The thing which it is here said was engraven on the hand or the forehead was the "name" of the beast, or the "number" of his name, Rev. 13:17. That is, the "name" or the "number" was so indelibly inscribed either on the hand or the forehead, as to show that he who bare it appertained to the "beast," and was subject to his authority‹as a slave is to his master, or a soldier to his commander. Applied to the Papacy, the meaning is, that there would be some mark of distinction; some indelible sign; something which would designate, with entire certainty, those persons who belonged to it, and who were subject to it. It is hardly necessary to say that, in point of fact, this has eminently characterized the Papacy. All possible care has been taken to designate with accuracy those who belong to that communion, and all over the world it is easy to distinguish those who render allegiance to the Papal power. Compare Note on Rev. 7:3.

 

17. And that no man might buy or sell. That is, this mighty power would claim jurisdiction over the traffic of the world, and endeavour to make it tributary to its own purposes. Compare Rev. 18:11-13, 17-19.

              This is represented by saying that no one might" buy or sell" except by its permission; and it is clear that where this power exists of determining who may "buy and sell," there is absolute control over the wealth of the world.

              Save he that had the mark. To keep it all among its own friends; among those who showed allegiance to this power.

              Or the name of the beast. That is, the "mark" referred to was either the name of the beast, or the number of his name. The meaning is, that he had something branded on him that showed that he belonged to the beast‹as a slave had the name of his master; in other words, there was something that certainly showed that he was subject to its authority.

              Or the number of his name. In regard to what is denoted by the number of the beast, See Note on Rev. 13:18.

              The idea here is, that that "number;" whatever it was, was so marked on him as to show to whom he belonged. According to the interpretation here proposed, the meaning of this passage is, that the Papacy would claim jurisdiction over traffic and commerce; or would endeavour to bring it under its control, and make it subservient to its own ends. Traffic or commerce is one of the principal means by which property is acquired, and he who has the control of this has, to a great degree, the control of the wealth of a nation; and the question now is, whether any such jurisdiction has been set up, or whether any such control has in fact been exercised, so that the wealth of the world has been subject to Papal Rome. For a more full illustration of this I may refer to See Note on Rev. 18:11, seq.; but at present it may be sufficient to remark that the manifest aim of the Papacy in all its history has been to control the world, and to get dominion over its wealth, in order that it might accomplish its own purposes. But, besides this, there have been numerous specified acts more particularly designed to control the business of "buying and selling." It has been common in Rome to prohibit, by express law, all traffic with heretics. Thus a canon of the Lateran council, under Pope Alexander III., commanded that no man should entertain or cherish them in his house or land, or traffic with them.‹Hard, vi. it. 1684. The synod of Tours, under the same Pope Alexander, passed the law that no man should presume to receive or assist the heretics, no, not so much as to exercise commerce with them in selling or buying. And so, too, the Constance council, as expressed in Pope Martin's bull.‹Elliott, iii. 220, 221.

 

18. Here is wisdom. That is, in what is stated respecting the name and the number of the name of the beast. The idea is, either that there would be need of peculiar sagacity in determining what the "number" of the "beast" or of his "name" was, or that peculiar "wisdom" was shown by the fact that the number could be thus expressed. The language used in the verse would lead the reader to suppose that the attempt to make out the "number" was not absolutely hopeless, but that the number was so far enigmatical as to require much skill in determining its meaning. It may also be implied that, for some reason, there was true "wisdom" in designating the name by this number, either because a more direct and explicit statement might expose him who made it to persecution, and it showed practical wisdom thus to guard against this danger; or because there was "wisdom" or skill shown in the fact that a number could be found which would thus correspond with the name. On either of these suppositions, peculiar wisdom would be required in deciphering its meaning.

              Let him that hath understanding. Implying

              (a) that it was practicable to "count the number of the name;" and

              (b) that it would require uncommon skill to do it. It could not be successfully attempted by all; but still there were those who might do it. This is such language as would be used respecting some difficult matter, but where there was hope that, by diligent application of the mind, and by the exercise of a sound understanding, there would be a prospect of success.

              Count the number of the beast. In Rev. 13:16, it is "the number of his name." The word here rendered "count"‹yhfisatw‹means, properly, to count or reckon with pebbles, or counters; then to reckon, to estimate. The word here means compute; that is, ascertain the exact import of the number, so as to identify the beast. The "number" is that which is immediately specified, "six hundred threescore and six"‹666. The phrase "the number of the beast" means, that somehow this number was so connected with the beast, or would so represent its name or character, that the "beast" would be identified by its proper application. The mention in Rev. 13:17 of "the name of the beast," and "the number of his name," shows that this "number" was somehow connected with his proper designation, so that by this he would be identified. The plain meaning is, that the number 666 would be so connected with his name, or with that which would properly designate him, that it could be determined who was meant by finding that number in his name or in his proper designation. This is the exercise of the skill or wisdom to which the writer here refers: substantially that which is required in the solution of a riddle or a conundrum. If it should be said here that this is undignified and unworthy of an inspired book, it may be replied

              (a) that there might be some important reason why the name or designation should not be more plainly made;

              (b) that it was important, nevertheless, that it should be so made that it would be possible to ascertain who was referred to;

              (c) that this should be done only in some way which would involve the principle of the enigma‹"where a known thing was concealed under obscure language"‹Webster's Dic.;

              (d) that the use of symbols, emblems, hieroglyphics, and riddles was common in the early periods of the world; and

              (e) that it was no uncommon thing in ancient times, as it is in modern, to test the capacity and skill of men by their ability to unfold the meaning of proverbs, riddles, and dark sayings. Compare the riddle of Samson, Judg. 14:12, seq. See also Psa. 49:4; 78:2; Ezek. 17:2-8

              Prov. 1:2-6; Dan. 8:23 It would be a sufficient vindication of the method adopted here if it was certain or probable that a direct and explicit statement of what was meant would have been attended with immediate danger, and if the object could be secured by an enigmatical form.

              For it is the number of a man. Various interpretations of this have been proposed. Clericus renders it, "The number is small, or not such as cannot be estimated by a man." Rosenmuller, "The number indicates a man, or a certain race of men." Prof. Stuart, "The number is to be computed more humano, not more angelico;" "it is a man's number." De Wette, "It is such a number as is commonly reckoned or designated by men." Other interpretations may be seen in Poole's Synopsis. That which is proposed by Rosenmuller, however, meets all the circumstances of the case. The idea is, evidently, that the number indicates or refers to a certain man, or order of men. It does not pertain to a brute, or to angelic beings. Thus it would be understood by one merely interpreting the language, and thus the connexion demands.

              And his number is six hundred threescore and six. The number of his name, Rev. 13:17. This cannot be supposed to mean that his name would be composed of six hundred and sixty-six letters; and it must, therefore, mean that somehow the number 666 would be expressed by his name in some well-understood method of computation. The number here‹six hundred and sixty-six‹is, in Walton's Polyglott, written out in full: Exakosioi exakonta ex. In Wetstein, Griesbach, Hahn, Tittmann, and the common Greek text, it is expressed by the characters cxß=666. There can be no doubt that this is the correct number, though, in the time of Ireneaus, there was in some copies another reading‹ciß=616. This reading was adopted by the expositor Tychonius; but against this, Ireneaus inveighs.‹Lib, v. c. 30. There can be no doubt that the number 666 is the correct reading, though it would seem that this was sometimes expressed in letters, and sometimes written in full. Wetstein supposes that both methods were used by John; that in the first copy of his book he used the letters, and in a subsequent copy wrote it in full. This inquiry is not of material consequence.

              It need not be said that much has been written on this mysterious "number," and that very different theories have been adopted in regard to its application. For the views which have been entertained on the subject, the reader may consult, with advantage, the article in Calmet's Dic., under the word Antichrist. It was natural for Calmet, being a Roman Catholic, to endeavour to show that the interpretations have been so various, that there could be no certainty in the application, and especially in the common application to the Papacy. In endeavouring to ascertain the meaning of the passage, the following general remarks may be made, as containing the result of the investigation thus far:

              (a) There was some mystery in the matter‹some designed concealment‹some reason why a more explicit statement was not adopted. The reason of this is not stated; but it may not be improper to suppose that it arose from something in the circumstances of the writer, and that the adoption of this enigmatical expression was designed to avoid some peril to which he or others might be exposed if there were a more explicit statement.

              (b) It is implied, nevertheless, that it could be understood; that is, that the meaning was not so obscure that, by proper study, the designed reference could not be ascertained without material danger of error.

              (c) It required skill to do this; either natural sagacity, or particular skill in interpreting hieroglyphics and symbols, or uncommon spiritual discernment.

              (d) Some man, or order of men, is referred to that could properly be designated in this manner.

              (e) The method of designating persons obscurely by a reference to the numerical signification of the letters in their names was not very uncommon, and was one that was not unlikely, in the circumstances of the case, to have been resorted to by John. "Thus, among the Pagans, the Egyptian mystics spoke of Mercury, or Thouth, under the name 1218, because the Greek letters composing the word Thouth, when estimated by their numerical value, together made up that number. By others, Jupiter was invoked under the mystical number 717; because the letters of ŒH APXH‹Beginning, or First Origin, which was a characteristic of the supreme deity worshipped as Jupiter, made up that number. And Apollo under the number 608, as being that of huß or uhß, words expressing certain solar attributes. Again, the pseudo-Christian or semi-Pagan Gnostics, from St. John's time and downwards, affixed to their gems and amulets, of which multitudes remain to the present day, the mystic word abrasax [abrasax] or abraxaß [abraxas] under the idea of some magic virtue attaching to its number 365, as being that of the days of the annual solar circle," etc. See other instances referred to in Elliott, iii. 205. These facts show that John would not be unlikely to adopt some such method of expressing a sentiment which it was designed should be obscure in form, but possible to be understood. It should be added here, that this was more common among the Jews than among any other people.

              (f) It seems clear that some Greek word is here referred to, and that the mystic number is to be found in some word of that language. The reasons for this opinion are these:

              (1) John was writing in Greek, and it is most natural to suppose that this would be the reference;

              (2) he expected that his book would be read by those who understood the Greek language, and it would have been unnatural to have increased the perplexity in understanding what he referred to by introducing a word of a foreign language;

              (3) the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and not those of the Hebrew, are expressly selected by the Saviour, to denote his eternity‹

              "I am Alpha and Omega," Rev. 1:8, 11; and

              (4) the numerals by which the enigma is expressed‹cxߋare Greek. It has indeed been supposed by many that the solution is to be found in the Hebrew language, but these reasons seem to me to show conclusively that we are to look for the solution in some Greek word.

              The question now is, whether there is any word which corresponds with these conditions, and which would naturally be referred to by John in this manner. The exposition thus far has led us to suppose that the Papacy in some form is referred to; and the inquiry now is, whether there is any word which is so certain and determinate as to make it probable that John meant to designate that. The word LateinoߋLateinos, the Latin [Man]‹actually has all the conditions supposed in the interpretation of this passage. From this word the number specified‹666‹is made out as follows:‹

              L        A        T        E        I         N       O        S

              30        1           300     5           10        50        70        200=666.

              In support of the opinion that this is the word intended to be referred to, the following suggestions may be made:

              (a) It is a Greek word.

              (b) It expresses the exact number, and corresponds in this respect with the language used by John.

              (c) It was early suggested as the probable meaning, and by those who lived near the time of John; who were intimately acquainted with the Greek language; and who may be supposed to have been familiar with this mode of writing. Thus it was suggested by Irenaeus, who says, "It seems to me very probable; for this is a name of the last of Daniel's four kingdoms; they being Latins that now reign." It is true that he also mentions two other words as those which may be meant‹euanqaß, a word which had been suggested by others, but concerning which he makes no remarks and which, of course, must have been destitute of any probability in his view; and teitan; which he thinks has the clearest claims for admission‹though he speaks of the word Lateinos as having a claim of probability.

              (d) This word would properly denote the Roman power, or the then Latin power, and would refer to that dominion as a Latin dominion‹as it properly was; and if it be supposed that it was intended to refer to that, and, at the same time, that there should be some degree of obscurity about it, this would be more likely to be selected than the word Roman, which was better known; and

              (e) there was a special propriety in this on the supposition that it was intended to refer to the Papal Latin power. The most appropriate appellation, if it was designed to refer to Rome as a civil power, would undoubtedly have been the word Roman; but if it was intended to refer to the ecclesiastical power, or to the Papacy, this is the very word to express the idea. In earlier times the more common appellation was Roman. This continued until the separation of the Eastern and Western empires, when the Eastern was called the Greek, and the Western the Latin; or when the Eastern empire assumed the name of Roman, and affixed to the Western kingdoms one and all that were connected with Rome the appellation of Latin. This appellation, originally applied to the language only, was adopted by the Western kingdoms, and came to be that by which they were best designated. It was the Latin world, the Latin kingdom, the Latin church, the Latin patriarch, the Latin clergy, the Latin councils. To use Dr. Mores words, "They Latinize everything: mass, prayers, hymns, litanies, canons, decretals, bulls, are conceived in Latin. The Papal councils speak in Latin, women themselves pray in Latin. The Scriptures are read in no other language under the Papacy than Latin. In short, all things are Latin." With what propriety, then, might John, under the influence of inspiration, speak, in this enigmatical manner, of the new power that was symbolized by the beast as Latin.

              The only objection to this solution that has been suggested is that the orthography of the Greek word is latinoߋLatinos‹and not lateinoߋLateinos‹giving the number 616, and not 666; and Bellarmine asserts that this is the uniform method of spelling in Greek authors. All that is necessary in reply to this, is to copy the following remark from Prof. Stuart, vol. it. p. 456: "As to the form of the Greek word lateinoß [Lateinos,] viz., that ei** is employed for the Latin long i it is a sufficient vindication of it to cite sabeinoß, fausteinoß, pauleinoß, lntwneinoß, lteilioß, meteilioß, papeerioß, oueibioß, etc. Or we may refer to the custom of the more ancient Latin, as in Plautus, of writing i by ei; e.g., solitei, Diveis, captivei, preimus, Lateina, etc." See this point examined further, in Elliott, iii. 210-213.

              As a matter of historical interest, it may be observed that the solution of the difficulty has been sought in numerous other words, and the friends of the Papacy, and the enemies of the Bible, have endeavoured to show that such terms are so numerous that there can be no certainty in the application. Thus Calmet, (Dic., art. Antichrist,) after enumerating many of these terms, says, "The number 666 is found in names the most sacred, the most opposite to Antichrist. The wisest and best way is to be silent."

              We have seen that, besides the name Lateinos, two other words had been referred to in the time of Irenaeus. Some of the words in which the mysterious number has been since supposed to be found are the following:‹

              rsq Nwrn Neron Caesar = 50+200+6+50, and 100+60+200 = 666

              Diocles Augustus (Dioclesian) = DCLXVI.

              C. F. Julianus Ceasar Atheus (the Apostate) = DCLXVI.

              Luther‹rtlwl = 200+400+30+6+30 = 666

              Lampetis, lampetiß = 30+1+40+80+5+300+10+200 = 666

               h latinh basileia = 8+30+1+300+10+50+8+2+1+200+10+30+5+10+1 = 666

               italika ekklhsia = 10+300+1+30+10+20+1+5+20+20+30+8+200+10+1= 666

               Apostathß (the Apostate) = 1+80+70+6+1+300+8+200 = 666

              tyymwr                      (Roman, sc. Sedes) = 200+6+40+10+10+400 = 666     Cwnomr      (Romanus,

sc. Man) = 200+40+70+50+6+300 = 666

              It will be admitted that many of these, and others that might be named, are fanciful, and perhaps had their origin in a determination, on the one hand, to find Rome referred to somehow, or in a determination, on the other hand, equally strong, not to find this; but still it is remarkable how many of the most obvious solutions refer to Rome and the Papacy. But the mind need not be distracted, nor need doubt be thrown over the subject, by the number of the solutions proposed. They show the restless character of the human mind, and the ingenuity of men; but this should not be allowed to bring into doubt a solution that is simple and natural, and that meets all the circumstances of the case. Such a solution, I believe, is found in the word lateinoߋLateinos, as illustrated above; and as that, if correct, settles the case, it is unnecessary to pursue the matter further. Those who are disposed to do so, however, may find ample illustration in Calmer, Dict., Art. Antichrist; Elliott, Horoe Apoca. iii. 207-221; Prof. Stuart, Com. vol. ii., Excursus, iv.; Bibiotheca Sacra, i. 84-86; Robert Fleming on the Rise and Fall of the Papacy, 28, seq.; De Wette, Exegetisches Handbuch, 37. T., iii. 140-142; Vitringa, Com. 625-637, Excursus, iv.; Nov. Tes. Edi. Koppianoe, vol. x. b, pp. 235-265; and the Commentaries generally.

 

 


Jewish New Testament Commentary

 

CHAPTER 13

 

Revelation 13:1-8

              These verses and 11:7, 17:24 place this chapter in the context of Daniel 7. The beast is a composite of Daniel's four beasts. Like the dragon (12:3-4 &N), it has the ten horns and seven heads of Daniel's "fourth beast" (v. 1, Daniel 7:7); although unlike the dragon, it also resembles the other three (lion... bear... leopard; v. 2, Daniel 7:4-6). It comes up out of the sea (v. 1, Daniel 7:3). It speaks arrogant blasphemies (vv. 5-6; Daniel 7:8, 20, 25). It has authority to act for 42 months (v. 5, Daniel 7:25). Daniel himself explains,"The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom upon earth, which will be different from all kingdoms. It will devour the whole earth, tread it down and break it in pieces. The ten horns are ten kings which will arise out of this kingdom, and another king will arise after them, and he will be different from the former ones, and he will subdue three kings. He will speak great words against the Most High, he will wear out the holy people of the Most High, and he will think to change times and laws; and they will be given into his hand for a season, seasons and half a season. But they will sit in judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed in the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions will serve and obey him. Here is the end of the matter." (Daniel 7:23-27) Many scholars regard Daniel's prophecy as fulfilled in 168-164 B.C.E. by the Seleucid king Antiochus IV, who "changed times and laws," even causing pigs to be offered to idols in place of the daily sacrifice, an abomination which desolated the Temple (Daniel 9:27, 11:31, 12:11) for three-and-a-half years ("a season, seasons and half a season"), until the Maccabees recaptured and rededicated it, an event memorialized by the festival of Chanukkah (see Yn 10:22N). But since Yeshua renewed the prophecy two centuries later, there must be a later fulfillment as well. See 17:8&N.

              In the Tanakh, "horn" often means "king." Many identify "another king" arising from the ten with the second beast (vv. 11-12&N).

              The four beasts of Daniel are four kingdoms; and most scholars identify them as Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. Since all are ancient history, futurists (see 1:1N) expect the beast of vv. 1-8 to be a revived Roman Empire, or a nation covering the same territory, or a nation in which the brutal and depraved spirit of the Roman Empire finds expression. C. I. Scofield, expressing the Dispensationalist view, regards the head with a fatal wound (v. 3) as the restored Roman Empire, which is "dead" now but will live again, to everyone's amazement. A few years ago the "newspaper exegetes" (1:1 N) saw the fulfillment of this prophecy in the ten members of the European Common Market. The fact that the Common Market now comprises more than ten participating nations does not necessarily disprove the futurist approach.

              Non-futurists sometimes make this beast an allegory of all Satanic power mobilized against God's people on earth, especially governmental power (as opposed to religious).

 

Revelation 13:3-4, 8

              The whole earth followed after the beast and worshipped it, except for believers in Yeshua, those whose names are written in the Book of Life (see 20:12bN) belonging to the Lamb, Yeshua, slaughtered before the world was founded (God planned his atoning death before creating the world; 5:6&N, Ep 1:3-12, Co 1:14-23).

 

Revelation 13:4

              Who is like the beast? This beast-worship litany is a parody of the name of the angel Mikha'el (Hebrew, meaning "Who is like God"), who defeated the dragon (12:7-9), and of the Song of Moses (see 15:3&N):

 

"Who is like you, Adonai, among the gods?

Who is like you, glorious in holiness,

fearful in praises, doing wonders?" (Exodus 15:11)

              The authority of the beast comes through the dragon, but the ultimate source of all authority is God (Isaiah 45:6-7; Job 1:12, 2:6).

 

Revelation 13:6

              And his Sh'khinah, and those living in heaven, literally, "and his tent, those tenting in heaven." See 7:15N.

 

Revelation 13:7

              Everyone living on earth. See 3:10N.

 

Revelation 13:8

              Book of Life. See 20:12bN.

 

Revelation 13:9

              See note at beginning of Chapter 2.

 

Revelation 13:11-12

              Another beast. This second beast is the "false prophet" (16:13, 19:20, 20:10). It is the "Anti-Messiah" (1 Yn 2:18); as a travesty of the real Messiah, it has two horns, like those of a lamb (5:6 &N). It is the "man who separates himself from Torah" (2 Th 2:3-10&NN), who fulfills Yeshua's prophecy that "Œthe abomination which causes devastation' spoken about through the prophet Daniel" will one day "stand in the Holy Place" of a rebuilt temple (Mt 24:15, citing Daniel 9:27, 11:31, 12:11). It is the "other king" which arises from the ten (Daniel 7:23-27, quoted in v. 1N). Non-futurists see this beast as symbolizing organized, institutional religion enforcing worship of the first beast.

 

Revelation 13:13-14

              Miracles pose two problems: (1) Do they happen at all? (2) If they do, are they signs from God? Whether miracles happen depends on how one defines a miracle. Without entering into subtleties, I will define a miracle as an event outside the ordinary which involves supernatural intervention. Although this displaces the locus of uncertainty onto what is meant by "supernatural intervention," the Bible, most religions and many nonreligious sources agree that miracles so defined do occur.

              The Bible takes some miracles as signs from God, but others are acknowledged as having demonic origin. Thus the second beast deceives the people living on earth, just as the magicians in Pharaoh's court deceived him into discounting the God of Israel (Exodus 7:11, 22; 8:3(7); in the New Testament compare Ac 13:6-9, 16:16-18, 19:13-16). However, God sets limits to demonic and Satanic capacity to perform miracles (Job 1:12, 2:6; Mt 24:24), just as he did as in Moses' day (Exodus 8:14-15(18-19), 9:11; see also Deuteronomy 18:9ff.).

              Fire... from heaven. This mimics Elijah's miracle (2 Kings 1:10-13); compare Lk 9:54. The word "fire" appears more than twenty times in the book of Revelation, generally signifying judgment. Thus the beast even mimics God's judgment.

 

Revelation 13:16-17a A mark on his right hand or on his forehead. Compare 20:4, which says "and," not "or": "those who had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received the mark on their foreheads and on their hands." This makes mockery of t'fillin (see Mt 23:5N), which Orthodox and Conservative Jews wear in the synagogue on the hand and forehead to obey Deuteronomy 6:8, "You shall bind them [that is, God's mitzvot] for a sign on your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes."

              This "mark of the beast" (16:2, 19:20; also 14:9-11) also mimics the sealing of the 144,000 (7:2-3 &N). Some suggest that this "mark" refers to a computerized credit-card system coupled with a transmitter-identifier implanted in people's foreheads and hands or some other high-technology development. Regardless of whether such speculations are true or fanciful, the mark points to a time of complete totalitarian control over economic life by religious elements.

 

Revelation 13:17-18

              The number of its name. In both Hebrew and Greek each letter of the alphabet corresponds to a number ‹ the first nine letters correspond to 1 through 9, the next nine to 10 through 90, and the last few letters to the hundreds. The number of a word or name is the sum of the numerical equivalents of its letters.

              In Jewish interpretation, gematria (the Hebrew word derives from the Greek word "geômetria," which underlies English "geometry") is a system of deducing the sod ("secret"; see Mt 2:15N) of a text by positing a meaningful connection between words whose numbers are either identical or related by simple arithmetic. Example: in rabbinic literature, God is sometimes called the "Place" ("Makom"). Why this should be is not evident, so Gematria explains it in this way: the letters of "YHVH" ‹ yud, heh, vav and heh ‹ are equivalent to 10, 5, 6 and 5. The sum of the squares of these four numbers is 186, which is the same as the number of "Makom" ‹ mem, kuf, vav, mem (40 (+ 100 + 6 + 40).

              Those who understand should count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person, and its number is 666. This has evoked even more speculation than the beast's mark. Who is the beast? Certain forms of the name of the Roman Emperor Nero have that number; moreover, a first-century cult expected him to be resurrected after his death in 68 C.E. Napoleon and other historical figures have been suggested. Moreover, if one uses other languages and manipulates the numerical correspondences, then, as George E. Ladd writes, "Almost anything can be done with these numbers.... If A = 100, B = 101, C = 102, etc., the name Hitler totals 666." Thus wisdom is needed, so that one will remain alert but not be misled.

              The number could be entirely symbolic. The name of Messiah in Greek, Iêsous, equals 888; 7 is regarded as the perfect number; and triple repetition symbolizes absolute ultimacy (as in Isaiah 6:3, "Holy, holy, holy is Adonai of Hosts."). Therefore 888 means that Yeshua is absolutely and ultimately beyond perfection, while 666 means that the beast in every respect falls short of perfection and is therefore absolutely and ultimately imperfect and evil.

 


 

Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament

 

Chapter 13

 

1. Beast (qhri÷on). Properly rendered. See remarks on bona living creatures, ch. 4:6.

 

Rise up (aÓnabaiˆnon). Rev., better, coming up, thus giving the force of the participle.

 

Ten horns. Compare Daniel 7:7.

 

Crowns (diadh/mata). Compare ch. 12:3. See on ch. 2:10.

 

The name (o¡noma). Read ojno/mata names. On each head a name.

 

2. A leopard (parda¿lei). The ancients do not seem to have distinguished between the leopard, the panther, and the ounce. The word stands for either. Leopard is leo-pard, the lion-pard, which was supposed to be a mongrel between a panther and a lioness. Compare Daniel 7:6.

 

Bear. Compare Daniel 7:5.

 

Lion. Compare Daniel 7:4.

 

3. I saw (ei€don). Omitted in the best texts.

 

Wounded (e™sfagme÷nhn). Lit., slain. See on ch. 5:6. The Rev. smitten is questionable. The word occurs eight times in Revelation, and in seven of these it must be rendered slain or slaughtered. Professor Milligan rightly observes that the statement is the counterpart of that in ver. 6, where we read of the lamb as though it had been slaughtered. In both cases there had been actual death, and in both revival. The one is a mocking counterpart of the other.

 

Deadly wound (plhgh\ touv qana¿tou). Lit., stroke of death. Rev., death-stroke.

 

After the beast (ojpi÷sw touv qhri÷ou). A pregnant construction for wondered at and followed after.

 

4. Which gave (o§ß e¶dwken). The correct reading is o¢ti "because he gave."

 

Who is like unto the beast? A parody on a similar ascription to God. See Isaiah 40:18, 25; 46:5; Psalm 113:5; Micah 7:18; Jeremiah 49:19. Compare ch. 18:18.

 

5. To continue forty and two months (poihvsai mhvnaß tessera¿konta du/o). Lit., to make forty and two months. Similarly, Acts 15:33, poih/santeß cro/non having tarried a space; lit., having made a time. See on continued there a year, James 4:13. The best expositors, however, render poihvsai absolutely, to work, and the following accusative as the accusative of duration, "during forty and two months." Rev., margin to do his works during, etc. See Daniel 11:28.

 

6. In blasphemy (ei™ß blasfhmi÷an). Read blasfhmi÷aß blasphemies. Rev., giving the force of ei™ß more correctly, "for blasphemies."

 

And them that dwell in heaven (kai« tou\ß e™n twז oujranwז skhnouvntaß). The best texts omit kai« and, making the following words in apposition with o¡noma and skhnh\n name and tabernacle. Thus the literal sense would be to blaspheme the name and tabernacle which dwell in heaven. "The meaning is to enhance the enormity of the blasphemy by bringing out the lofty nature of God's holy name and dwelling-place" (Alford). The word dwell is, literally, tabernacle. See on ch. 12:12.

 

7. The saints (tw×n aJgi÷wn). See on Acts 26:10.

 

All kindreds (pa×san fulh\n). Rev., more literally and correctly, every tribe. See on ch. 1:7; 5:9. After tribe insert kai« lao\n and people. See on 1 Peter 2:9.

 

Nation (e¶qnoß). See on 1 Peter 2:9.

 

8. From the foundation of the world. These words may be construed with slain or with written. In favor of the latter is ch. 18:8; of the former, 1 Peter 1:19, 20. Alford, pertinently as I think, urges the position of the words in favor of the connection with slain, and says that had it not been for the apparent difficulty of the sense thus conveyed, no one would have thought of going so far back as to hath been written for a connection. Render, as Rev., the lamb that hath been slain from the foundation of the world. Katabolh/ foundation is literally a throwing or laying down, from kataba¿llw to throw down; hence a laying down of a foundation.

 

10. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity (ei¶ tiß ai™cmalwsi÷an suna¿gei, ei™ß ai™cmalwsi÷an uJpa¿gei). Lit., if any one assemble captivity (i.e., bring together captives) into captivity he goeth away. The best texts insert ei™ß into before the first captivity, and omit assemble, thus reading if any man is for captivity into captivity he goeth. So Rev. See on dispersion, John 7:35. Compare Jeremiah 15:2; 43:11. The persecutors of the Church shall suffer that which they inflict on the saints.

 

Sword (macai«rhØ). See on ch. 6:4.

 

Here. In the thought that God judgeth in the earth.

 

14. An image to the beast (ei™ko/na twז qhri÷w–). Ei™kw¿n is a figure or likeness. thus Matthew 22:20, of the likeness of Caesar on the coin. Romans 1:24, an image of men, birds, beasts, etc. Colossians 3:10, "the image of Him that created him;" i.e., the moral likeness of renewed men to God. Christ is called the image of God (Corinthians 1:15; 2 Corinthians 4:4). Besides the idea of likeness, the word involves the idea of representation, though not of perfect representation. Thus, man is said to be the image of God (1 Corinthians 11:7). In this it resembles carakth/r image in Hebrews 1:3. Caesar's image on the coin, the reflection of the sun in the water (Plato, "Phaedo," 99); and the statue or image of the beast in this passage, are ei™kw¿n.

 

The word also involves the idea of manifestation. Thus, Col. 1:15, where, in the image there is an implied contrast with the invisible God. Hence Philo applied the term to the Logos. See on John 1:1.

 

The word played an important part in the Arian controversy, in which the distinction was sharply emphasized between ei™kw¿n image as assuming a prototype, and therefore as properly representing the relation of the Son to the Father, and oJmoi÷wma likeness, as implying mere similitude, and not embodying the essential verity of the prototype. The image involves the likeness, but the likeness does not involve the image. The latter may imply only an accidental resemblance, while the former is a veritable representation. Christ is therefore the ei™kw¿n of God.

 

The image of the beast occurs ten times in Revelation; four times in this chapter, and in 14:9, 11; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4.

 

15. Speak. This is supposed by some to refer to the tricks of pagan priests in making pictures and statues appear to speak

 

16. A mark (ca¿ragma). The word occurs frequently in Revelation, and only once elsewhere (Acts 17:29) on which see note. commentators find illustrations in the brand set upon slaves by their masters, or upon soldiers by their monarchs, and in the branding of slaves attached to certain temples. Herodotus describes a temple to Hercules at the Canopic mouth of the Nile, and says: "If a slave runs away from his master, and taking sanctuary at this shrine gives himself up to the God, and receives certain sacred marks upon his person, whosoever his master may be, he cannot lay hand on him" (ii., 113). In the treatise "concerning the Syrian goddess" falsely attributed to Lucian, it is said of the slaves of the temple, "all are branded, some upon the wrist and some upon the neck." Paul, in Gal. 6:17, applies the word for these brands, sti÷gmata, to the marks of Christ's service which he bears in his body. In 3 Macc. 2:29, we read that Ptolemy Philopator required all the Jews of Alexandria to be registered among the common people; and that those who were thus registered were to be marked (cara¿ssesqai) on their persons by the ivy-leaf symbol of Dionysus (Bacchus). In Leviticus 19:28, the Israelites are forbidden to make cuttings in their flesh for the dead and to print marks (gra¿mmata stikta») upon themselves.

 

17. The number. The method of mystic numbering obtained alike among pagan Greeks, Gnostics, Christian Fathers, and Jewish Cabbalists. Jupiter was invoked under the number 717 contained in the letters ŒH'APXH the beginning. The Gnostics affixed to their gems and amulets the mystic word aÓbrasax or aÓbraxaß, under the idea of some virtue attaching to its number, 365, as being that of the days of the solar cycle. Barnabas and Clement of Alexandria speak of the virtue of the number 318 as being that of IHT, the common abbreviation for Jesus crucified. In the pseudo-Sybilline verses, written by Christians, about the end probably of the second century, are found versified enigmas giving the number and requiring the name. The translation of one of these on the word Jesus is as follows: "He will come upon earth clothed with flesh like mortal men. His name contains four vowels and two consonants: two of the former being sounded together. And I will declare the entire number. For the name will exhibit to incredulous men eight units, eight tens, and eight hundreds."

 

18. Here is wisdom. Directing attention to the challenge which follows.

 

Count (yhfisa¿tw). See on Luke 14:28.

 

The number of a man. It is counted as men usually count. Compare ch. 21:17, and a man's pen, Isaiah 8:1. Some explain, a symbolical number denoting a person.

 

Six hundred threescore and six (c.x.s/). Each letter represents a component of the whole number: c = 600; x = 60; s/ = 6. In the earlier MSS: it is written in full, ešxako/sioi ešxh/konta e™x. The method of reading generally adopted is that known as the Ghematria of the Rabbins, or in Greek, i™soyhfi÷a numerical equality, which assigns each letter of a name its usual numerical value, and gives the sum of such numbers as the equivalent of the name. Thus, in the Epistle of Barnabas, we are told that the name Ihsouvß Jesus is expressed by the number 888. I = 10; h = 8; ß = 200; o = 70; u = 400; ß = 200. The majority of the commentators use the Greek alphabet in computation; others, however, employ the Hebrew; while a third class employ the Roman numerals.

 

The interpretations of this number form a jungle from which escape is apparently hopeless. Reuss says: "This famous number has been made to yield almost all the historical names of the past eighteen centuries: Titus, Vespasian, and Simon Gioras; Julian the Apostate and Genseric; Mahomet and Luther; Benedict IX. and Louis XV.; Napoleon I. and the Duke of Reichstadt; and it would not be difficult, on the same principles, to read in it one another's names." Some of the favorite names are Lateiˆnoß, Latinus, describing the common character of the rulers of the former pagan Roman Empire: Nero Caesar; Diocletian; cs/ the name of Christ abridged, and x the emblem of the serpent, so that the sublimated sense is the Messiah of Satan.

 

 


Revelation References

 

Word Biblical Commentary: Volume 52a: Revelation 1-5, Volume 52b: Revelation 6-16 & Volume 52c: Revelation 17-22, David E. Aune

 

Barnes' Notes on the New Testament: Revelation of St. John the Divine, Albert Barnes


The Book of Ezekiel: Chapters 1-24 and The Book of Ezekiel: Chapter 25-48: The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, Damiel I. Block

 

An Introduction to the New Testament, D. A. Carson & Douglas J. Moo


Dr. Constable's Notes on Revelation, Dr. Thomas L. Constable, Dallas Theological Seminary (his class notes)

 

Revelation: Four Views. A Parallel Commentary, Steve Gregg

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, 1871 Edition, Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown

Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation, Dennis E. Johnson

 

Revelation Unveiled, Tim LaHaye

 

Macarthur New Testament Commentary Series: Revelation 1-11, Revelation 12-22, John MacArthur

 

The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Book of Revelation, Robert H. Mounce

 

The Preacher's Commentary: 1,2 & 3 John/Revelation, Earl F. Palmer

 

Exploring Revelation: Am Expository Commentary, John Phillips

 

The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation, Vern S. Poythress

 

"Behold, He Cometh": A Verse-by-Verse Commentary on the Book of Revelation, John R. Rice

 

Jewish New Testament Commentary, David H. Stern


Revelation 1-7: An Exegetical Commentary and Revelation 8-22: An Exegetical Commentary, Robert L. Thomas,


Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament, Marvin R. Vincent

 

The Bible Speaks Today: The Message of Revelation, Michael Wilcock

 

Shepherd's Notes: Revelation

IVP Pocket Dictionaries:

-           Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms, Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzke and Cherith Fee Nordling

-           Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Studies, Arthur G. Patzia and Anthony J. Petrotta

-           Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics and Philosophy of Religion,  Stephen Evans

-           Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament Greek, Matthew S. DeMoss

 

Intervarsity Press' New Testament Commentary

 

Intervarsity Press' New Bible Commentary

 

Intervarsity Press' Hard Sayings of the Bible

 

 




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