|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:1-10 The apostle, standing on the shore, saw a savage beast rise out of the sea; a tyrannical, idolatrous, persecuting power, springing up out of the troubles which took place. It was a frightful monster! It appears to mean that worldly, oppressing dominion, which for many ages, even from the times of the Babylonish captivity, had been hostile to the church. The first beast then began to oppress and persecute the righteous for righteousness' sake, but they suffered most under the fourth beast of Daniel, (the Roman empire,) which has afflicted the saints with many cruel persecutions. The source of its power was the dragon. It was set up by the devil, and supported by him. The wounding the head may be the abolishing pagan idolatry; and the healing of the wound, introducing popish idolatry, the same in substance, only in a new dress, but which as effectually answers the devil's design. The world admired its power, policy and success. They paid honour and subjection to the devil and his instruments. It exercised infernal power and policy, requiring men to render that honour to creatures which belongs to God alone. Yet the devil's power and success are limited. Christ has a chosen remnant, redeemed by his blood, recorded in his book, sealed by his Spirit; and though the devil and antichrist may overcome the body, and take away the natural life, they cannot conquer the soul, nor prevail with true believers to forsake their Saviour, and join his enemies. Perseverance in the faith of the gospel and true worship of God, in this great hour of trial and temptation, which would deceive all but the elect, is the character of those registered in the book of life. This powerful motive and encouragement to constancy, is the great design of the whole Revelation.
Verse 4. - And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast; because be gave his authority (Revised Version) is found in all the best manuscripts. The devil had sought to beguile Christ by offering to him all the kingdoms of the world. His efforts with men are more successful. They worship him on account of the worldly wealth and influence which he bestows. And they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? Insert "and" with Revised Version: and who is able, etc.? The beast usurps the homage due to God alone (cf. the song of those who had triumphed in Revelation 15:4, "Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy Name?" cf. also Exodus 15:11; Micah 7:18, etc.). The adherents of the beast thus intimate their belief in his superior prowess and his ability to succeed in his war against those who "keep the commandments of God, and hold the testimony of Jesus."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And they worshipped the dragon,.... The devil, in the idols, images, angels, and saints departed, to whom they give adoration, as did the Gentiles, whose successors they are, and whose name they bear; see 1 Corinthians 10:20;
which gave power unto the beast, as in Revelation 13:2;
and they worshipped the beast; not only in a civil way, being subject to him as their temporal lord, to whom they give homage; obedience, and tribute, but in a religious way; for antichrist sits in the temple to be worshipped as God, showing himself that he is God, and receives adorations from his creatures, the cardinals, and others; but woe to them that worship this beast; see Revelation 14:9.
Saying, who is like unto the beast? using such expressions as are used of God himself, implying that there is none like him, Exodus 15:11, yea, they ascribe deity to him, calling him our Lord God the pope, God, and a God on earth; See Gill on 2 Thessalonians 2:4.
Who is able to make war with him? And indeed, such was his power and strength once, that he was more than a match for emperors and kings; and those were badly off that engaged in a war with him, when his power was such, that he could depose one, and set up other, kick the crowns of kings, tread upon the necks of emperors, oblige them to hold his stirrup, while mounted his horse, and keep them barefoot at his gate for days together, waiting for admittance; of all which there are instances.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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, Ex 15:11 (whence, in the Hebrew, the Maccabees took their name; the opponents of the Old Testament Antichrist, Antiochus); Ps 35:10; 71:19; 113:5; Mic 7:18; blasphemously (Re 13:1, 5) assigned to the beast. It is a parody of the name "Michael" (compare Re 12:7), meaning, "Who is like unto God?"
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