Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.Revelation 13:1–18
b. The Antichrist out of the Sea of Nations
1And [ins. I] saw a beast [wild-beast] rise up [ascending] out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns [ten horns and seven heads]1, and upon his horns ten crowns [diadems], and upon his heads the [om. the] name [names2] of blasphemy.[;] 2and the beast [wild-beast] which [that] I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were [om. were] as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat [throne], and great authority 3[ἐξουσία].[:] And I saw [om. I saw]3 one of [from among] his heads as it were [om. it were—ins. if] wounded [slain]4 to death; and his deadly wound [or the wound of his death] was healed: and all the world [the whole earth] wondered after the beast 4[wild-beast]. And they worshipped the dragon which [om. which—ins. because he] gave power [the authority (τὴν ἐξουσίαν)] unto the beast [wild-beast]:5 and they worshipped the beast [wild-beast], saying, Who is like unto [om. unto] the beast [wild-beast]? [ins. and] who is able to make [om. make] war with him? 5And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies;6 and power [om. power—ins. there] was given unto him [authority (ἐξουσία)] to continue 6[act7] forty and [om. and] two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy [unto blasphemies]8 against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and9 them that dwell [those who tabernacle] in [ins. the] heaven. 7And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome [conquer]10 them: and power [authority (ἐξουσὶα)] was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations 8[every tribe, and people11, and tongue, and nation]. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him,12 whose names are not [every one whose name13 hath not been] written in the book of life of the Lamb [ins. that hath been] slain [or ins.,]14 from the foundation of the world. 9If any man [one] have [hath] an ear, let him hear. 10He that leadeth into [If any one is for] captivity shall go [om. shall go—ins.,] into captivity [ins. he goeth]15: he that killeth [if any one shall kill]16 with the sword [ins., he] must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience [endurance] and the faith of the saints.
c. The Antichristian False Prophet, as the last Product of the Earth—i. e., the Ancient Order of Things—in its Lapse into Antichristianity
11And I beheld [saw] another beast [wild-beast] coming up [ascending] out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12And he exerciseth all the power [authority (ἐξουσία) of the first beast [wild-beast] before him, [in his presence;] and [ins. he] causeth [maketh]17 the earth and them which [that] dwell therein [in it] to [om. to—ins. that they should] worship the first beast [wild-beast], whose deadly [om. deadly] wound [ins. of his death] was healed. 13And he doeth great wonders [signs], so that [or in order that also (ἵνα καί)]18 he maketh [may make] fire come down from [ins. the] heaven on [unto] the earth in 14the sight [presence] of men, and deceiveth [seduceth or misleadeth (πλανᾷ)] them that dwell on the earth by the means of [because of] those miracles [the signs] which he had power [it was given to him] to do [work] in the sight [presence] of the beast [wild-beast]; saying to [telling] them that dwell on the earth, that they should [om. that they should—ins. to] make an image to the beast [wild-beast], 15which [who19] had [hath] the wound by a sword, and did live [lived]. And he had power [it was given to him] to give life [or a spirit20 (πνεῦμα)] unto the image of the beast [wild-beast], that the image of the beast [wild-beast] should both speak, and cause that21 as many as would [should]22 not worship the image of the beast [wild-beast] should be killed [slain]. 16And he causeth [maketh] all, both [om. both—ins. the] small and [ins. the] great, [ins. and the] rich and [ins. the] poor, [ins. and the] free and [ins. the] bond, to receive [om. to receive—ins. that they should give23 them] a mark in [on] their right hand, or in [on] their foreheads 17[forehead]: and [or om. and]24 that no man might [one should be able to] buy or sell, save [but] he that had [hath] the mark, or [om. or] the name of the beast 18[wild-beast], or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast [wild-beast]: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore [and sixty] and [om. and] six.25
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
PREFATORY REMARKS ON THE RELATION OF CH. 13 TO CH. 17—It has already been remarked that the figure of Satan and his seven heads (Rev 12.) (Rev 12) must not be identified with the figure of Antichrist and his seven heads. Neither must the history of the rule of Antichristianity, primarily set forth as a whole (Rev 13), be identified with the judgment upon the first third of Antichristianity, the Harlot, (Rev 17). Consequently, the details also (chs. 13 and 17), especially the parallels of the seven heads, may, indeed, be regarded as similarities, but are not to be treated as identities. This remark applies particularly to the deadly wounding of one of the Beast’s heads (Rev 13) and the temporary disappearance of the Beast (Rev 17)—a disappearance certainly resultant upon the wounding. All those combinations that are grounded upon the identity of these two items, which are connected as cause and effect, fall to pieces when subjected to a more precise and circumstantial exegesis. It is impossible to overlook the antithesis, that, in the total history of Antichristianity (Rev 13), the False Prophet, the spirit of a fallen Hierarchy, is subservient to the Antichristian political World-power, whilst in the history of partial Antichristianity (Rev 17), the Woman rides upon the Beast, although the Beast at last destroys the Harlot. Comp. Ebrard, pp. 377 and 455.
Above all, we would remind our readers of the fact that we have another entire cyclical world-picture before us, viewed under the aspect of Antichristianity; it is no mere petty section of Roman history, comprised, as some would have it, between the years 1 and 70 A. D. Further, the following definite antithesis is distinctly evident: As the Beast out of the sea represents the whole of historical worldly political Antichristianity, as embraced, however, in its final consummate appearance—so, likewise, the Woman, contrasted with the Beast, is not, so to speak, a particle of the Kingdom of God, still less the Jewish people, but the whole Old and New Testament Kingdom of God, and this too with reference to the final form of the Old Testament, in which the Mother appears, and to the final form of the New Testament Church, which divides into the two forms of Harlot and Bride, finally appearing as the Bride.
Our Earth-picture is in three sections. In the first, the devilish essence has obtained no human shape, but already operates by summoning to its aid human masses which unconsciously serve it. In the second section, it has fashioned an organ unto itself in the appearance of the Beast out of the sea. In the third section, it has even made a Beast from the earth, a production of the old Theocratic order of things, subservient to the sea-monster, and hence, indirectly, ministrant to itself.
The beginning of the first section plainly shows that here the Earth-picture commences which corresponds with the Heaven-picture, for in Rev 13:14, Rev 13:6 is repeated. Here, however, we have the amplificatory statement: to the Woman were given the two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness. The great eagle may be relatively understood of worldly powers, if the context require such an apprehension, as for instance in Ezek. 17:3, 7. When, however, the term is as free from limitation as we find it here, our thoughts are led back to the redemption of Israel from Egypt, when Jehovah bare the people on eagle wings (Ex. 19:4); and we are the more forcibly reminded of that event, since Israel, also, found refuge from the pursuing Pharaoh far out in the wilderness. If Jehovah Himself is not to be here understood, the thing signified is His redemptive providence, in its powerful, swift and lofty flight, unattainable for all earthly pursuers. The fact that the wings must be two in number requires no elucidation; it is, however, somewhat remarkable that the Woman receives the wings herself and becomes a flying Woman. Thus did the young Church of Christ fly from Jerusalem to Pella; and thus in every subsequent persecution it has fled deeper into the wilderness of solitude, of concealment, of renunciation, of foreign countries;26 thus it finally fled literally into the wilderness of hermitry and monasticism. For the wilderness forms, in general, a contrast to the worldly region of secular life, just as the wilderness into which the Eagle bore Israel formed a contrast to Egypt. The Middle Ages afford a symbolical representation of these flights, in the development of monkish forms, of constantly increasing strictness, in face of every new advance of secularization;—back of these figures, however, lies the fact that the Church has ever fled deeper into the hiding-place of world-renunciation. Here is her place, where she is nourished. And how she has been nourished with heavenly strength, has been shown by the Mystics of the Middle Ages as well as by the Martyrs of the Reformation.
The time of her sojourn in the wilderness, or the time of the Church of the Cross, is, as has already been observed, obscurely designated in a twofold manner—by the number 3½ and by the indefinite form of times.
Thus she is nourished from the face of the Serpent. Even the serpent of hierarchical despotism scarce observed how the Church was nourished inwardly with powers of the world to come [Heb. 6:5].
But the abode of the Woman does not remain hidden from the Serpent, who casts out of his mouth water as a river, that he might cause her to be carried away. In the parable of the mustard seed, Christ had described the development of the seed into a tree-like shrub, which the birds would mistake for a real tree, and make their nests in its branches; John could already see the beginnings of the fulfillment of this prophecy in the pressing of foreign elements into the living Church. In his quality of Seer, however, he had the broadest and most extensive view of this whole inundation of the Church by the Græco-Roman world, by the migrations of nations, by its baptism with many peoples. For it is an irrefragable fact that waters are indicative of surging national life (Ps. 93:3, 4); consequently, the river here denotes a violent flux of national life against the essential Church, and the casting of this water out of the mouth of the Dragon forces the inference of a diabolical background to this tremendous onset. We cannot, of course, deny the fact that an opposite attraction to the light had its share in influencing the Germanic peoples, especially, in their migrations; this, however, does not invalidate a truth clearly unfolded in the migrations of the Huns, the Vandals, the Turks, and the Mongols, in their perilous onset against the Church. And, moreover, the Germanic nations were urged on and swept away by the dark lust of conquest of the Huns. But the earth helped the Woman by opening her mouth and swallowing up the river. It was the earth as a Divine institution, in the double form of the pedagogical Church of the Law, striking back into the Old Testament, and the Christian State, which subdued the flood of barbarous nations through the medium of a Theocratic education.27 Numbers 16:32 can hardly, merely on account of the similarity of expression, be cited here as analogous.
The rage of the Evil One is, indeed, only heightened by this discomfiture; it, however, takes another direction. The Dragon, angry concerning the Woman, departs to make war “with the remnant of her seed.” These are designated as truly pious persons; they keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. The explanations of them as brethren of Christ, or Gentile Christians, or Zionites, are not satisfactory. It would seem nearer the truth to say that they are the individual Christians who, collectively, form the Woman (Bleek et al.), if the text did not make a decided distinction between the Woman, or the Kingdom of God in its visible appearance, and these isolated children of the same. And here it is a natural proceeding to glance back from the striking expression οἱ λοιποί (comp. Rev 3:2) to the significant typical expression of the Prophets: the remnant ([residue, remainder] שְׁאֵרִית שֶׁאַר; Is. 10:20–22; 11:11; 28:5; Amos 9:12; Micah 2:12; 4:7; 7:18, etc.). There has been a storm of judgment, in the assaults of the Dragon upon the Woman, at the end of which there is but a remnant of individual Christians left, who are true servants of God and martyrs of Christ. The Woman has had to submit to an alliance with the earth; the essential Church has had to consent to an alliance with the Theocratic ecclesiastico-political form. In consequence of this alliance, the Church has itself become more akin to the earth, and a distinction has arisen between her visible totality and her living children. Subsequently she is herself partially represented by the earth. In the last time, therefore, Satan instinctively directs his attacks only upon the vital Christianity of individual Christians. He may gain many a victory in combat with them; for how many separatists and sects fall a prey to diabolical deceit. As a whole, however, they resist him, and this urges him on in the direction of the sea, the social life of the nations.
Accordingly, he stands upon the sand of the sea. Here he appears to vanish—only, however, to arise in his moral creature, the Beast out of the sea, positive Antichristianity. The fact that here, as well as Dan. 7:2 sqq., the sea represents the life of the nations, is proved not only by the consistent import of this symbol, but also by the agreement of the idea in respect of the ascending Beast. The fundamental thought is this—that always a demonic ruling power issues from a spiritual anarchy of excited national life, and rests thereupon. It does not follow from this that we already have to do with a democratic form of Antichristianity. The decisive passage where we are to seek for light is the scene Rev 16:19. After the out-pouring of the seventh Vial of wrath, the one great city, Sodom-Egypt (Rev 11:8), is divided into three parts, and the one judgment branches into three judgments—the judgment upon specific Babylon, executed by the ten kings (chs. 17, 18); the judgment upon the ten kings, executed through the Parousia of Christ (Rev 21); and the judgment upon God and Magog as the host of Satan, executed through the intervention of God with fire from Heaven (Rev 20:9). Hence it is evident that in the present bestial figure, those three potencies are still undivided—Antiehristian absolute despotism, democracy and anarchy. That the decidedly worldly character of the Beast is expressed, is evidenced by his coherence with the Danielic world-monarchies; and, no less, by his hostile antithesis to the Theocratico-churchly Woman, and his distinction from the False Prophet from the earth. Still, the three ground-forms of Antichristianity already peep forth from our unitous figure, and among them, of course, the first ground-form, Babylon, appears. That a great Beast of prey is intended, is evident from the attributes of the Beast as well as from his peculiar designation (θηρίον not=ζῶον). With these attributes, he appears as a unitous compound of the Danielic beasts, yet in an original modification. The ten horns of the fourth Danielic Beast come in view here. In the stead of the four Beasts, however, we have the one Beast, and that not with four, but with seven heads, because here the centre of gravity falls in the New Testament time, beyond the vision of Daniel. The Beast has, moreover, become civilized with the times. In the vision of Daniel, the lion occupies the foreground; here, the general aspect of the Beast is pied, like the less formidable leopard—variegated with hierarchic and despotic colors. Of the Danielic bear, the Johannean Beast has retained the ursine feet, on account of his ungainly appearance, or his fatal embraces. Of the lion, the mouth remains (see 1 Pet. 5:8). Thus compounded, he is still more of a monster than the fourth Danielic Beast; and his monstrosity is still further increased by the fact of his union of the seven spirit-like and apparently holy heads with ten horns of worldly authority—a disproportion which distinctly proclaims that his authority is to be regarded as bestial arbitrariness, and not as reposing upon actual spirit-might; this fact is also evident from the circumstance that he has set his crowns not on his heads, but, more shamelessly than Satan himself, on his horns.
On the other hand, the heads have on them names of blasphemy, different forms of rebellion against the Divine-human government of God, and against the God-man Himself (Dan. 7:2 Thess. 2).
The Dragon seems desirous of being completely merged in this his representative. He gives him (the manner of the giving is intimated John 13:27) his magical power, i. e. his lying power; his throne or his terrific ruler-glory, intimidating to all that is cowardly and base on Earth; and his authority as a ruler (see Matt. 4:9; 2 Cor 4:4).
Manifestly, this collective appearance of Antichristianity reaches back into the Old Testament; in this it resembles the collective appearance of the Kingdom of God, in the form of the Woman (Rev 12). As, however, the main history of the Woman falls in the New Testament time, so it is with the full revelation of Antichristianity, which even tapers at last into the consummate figure of Antichrist (Rev 13:17, 18).
And now we come to the hardest knot of the Book. The point of departure for our consideration is the mark, or recognition-sign (χάραγμα), the real symbolum of the congregation of the Beast. Every one who chooses to belong to this congregation must bear this sign about him, either on his forehead or on his hand. After the analogy of branded slaves, he must bear the Antichristian slave-mark on himself as a sign that he belongs to the Beast—indirectly to the Dragon—and that he has not fallen under social excommunication, like the confessors of Christ. Now is this mark to be apprehended literally or figuratively? The particulars seem to favor the literal apprehension of it. Either on the forehead or on the hand—either in ordinary writing or in number-writing.
Forehead and hand, however, are themselves intelligible symbols; and, consequently, the sign on the forehead seems to denote the Theocratic impiety of open confession of the prince of enmity to God and Christ, whilst the sign on the hand is apparently significant of the practical impiety of open atheistical audaciousness; thus a contrast is formed, as if the complete dogmatics and ethics of Satanic superstition and unbelief were intended.
But, though the spiritual deportment is the main thing, the instantaneous recognizability of the spiritual state is conditioned on a definite symbolum. This symbolum consists of the Antichristian party-name, corresponding to the generic name of Christian. The devil-worshipper calls himself after the name of the Beast who rules him; either plainly, without circumlocution, or in numeric writing.
In the declaration: here is wisdom—however, it cannot be meant that the Seer designs depositing here in a riddle the central point of all the wisdom of revelation. The like expression recurs, more plainly, in Rev 17:9: Here is the understanding that possesses [is master of] wisdom—in accordance with what follows after, the skillful, holy, intelligent ability to recognize the Antichristian power, or rightly to apply the Apocalyptic sign to the corresponding historic phenomenon. In this, therefore, wisdom will approve itself. Wisdom alone will not answer; understanding alone would be still further from the mark. But whosoever has the right understanding of wisdom will reckon the number of the Beast, or transpose the ideal marks of the Beast into historic marks.
The Seer next furnishes the key. The number of the Beast is, in the first place, the number of an unknown man. It runs through a line of precursory Antichrists down to the last specifically consummated Antichrist. The standing sign, however, is the demonic side of Antichrist, and this is signalized by the number six hundred sixty-six. By an absolute unrepose and toil, by the absolute denial of the approaching Sabbath or Golden Age, and by an absolute aimlessness and abortiveness, or self-consumption, we are to recognize the features of Antichrist. Where these appear in demonic perfection, there is Antichrist (comp. Is. 48:22; 57:21; 66:24). To compute the number of the Beast means, therefore, to determine the human unknown Antichrist in accordance with the stationary and revealed traits of the demonic nature of Antichrist, with the understanding of wisdom (not the understanding of a prying and calculating curiosity).28
Between the general form of Antichristianity and its summing up in the last Antichrist, a highly significant consideration presents itself. One of the heads of the Beast appears as wounded to death; but the deadly wound becomes whole again. Such a wounding could proceed only from Christianity. We must, however, carefully distinguish the fact, that Christ Himself, in the kingdom of spirit, has bruised the serpent’s head (the life-principle of the seven heads)—from the fact that historic Christianity inflicts a deadly wound upon the Antichristian world-power in the distinct head of the pagan-Roman world-monarchy,—a wound which, in this present world’s history, can be healed. This item coincides precisely with the apparent vanishment of the Beast that was and is not and shall be, as represented by the seventh head (Rev 17:8–10.—See Int., pp. 25 sq.). Since that healing, all the Earth has been wondering after the Beast. Since within Christianity itself an Antichristian power has unfolded in many and diverse forms, having even partially matured its principles, the generality of men, especially such as are hangers on of authority a tout prix, have become accustomed to divide their hearts, and at the rupture of light [truth] and falsehood, right and might, with superstition and cowardice to pay homage to the lying power, making, for the most part, only symbolical reverences to Christianity. This is worshipping the Beast, and it is also, indirectly, a subtile devil-service—a worshipping of the Dragon. For that which has converted Satan into an Ahriman, an evil deity, for such men, is the fact that he has given power to the Beast; this he has accomplished by means of an impious policy of craft and violence—a policy which, starting from Italy especially, attained such fearful terroristic development in the Middle Ages. In reference to the Dragon, they worship Godless principles; in reference to the Beast, they worship his incomparableness and irresistibility. Vast pomp and inexorable hardness compose the social cement which, ever more and more, threatens to convert the majority of men into an idea-less, anti-ideal mass—the method which would succeed in giving mankind an animal training, were it not that it has a Divine kernel before which all the might of Satan must be confounded. So secure is Divine Providence in face of the Beast, that it gives him a mouth for all boasting and blasphemy, i.e., for all self-exaltation and derision of Divine truth, of Christian principles. For precisely this is the Divine method of sifting, as exhibited in the history of the world; thus the elect must become manifest, and thus the chaff must be separated from the wheat. To this end, therefore, authority is given to him, power to do what seems good to him for forty-two months. This, again, is the whole time of the Church of the cross—not, however, in the form of times or of days, but in the form of months [moons], like the abandonment of the outer court to the Gentiles (Rev 11:2); the greatest vicissitudes and fluctuations thus being indicated. Meanwhile, this Antichristianity is perfecting itself against the end. Finally, there is an open manifestation of audacity; the Beast blasphemes God, and that in a threefold manner: he blasphemes His name, or revealed religion; His tabernacle, or His vital, simple, unadorned Church; and His children, the men of the Spirit [or men of spirit, i. e., spiritually-minded men], who dwell in Heaven: in his blaspheming against them that dwell in Heaven, a blasphemy against the hope of a hereafter is involved. It is also given him even to make war with the saints and to overcome them. For the combat is conducted before the undiscerning, appearance-seeking and party-spirited world, and here, almost invariably, it is the Stentor voice, arrogance and false pathos that decide; and the result is all the more certain since extraordinary magical and terroristic aids are on the side of the Beast, extending even to all terrors of violence and tricks of craft. Thus there is vouchsafed him an extension of authority over every tribe, and people, and tongue, and nation. Now it is an unmistakable fact that this ideally unitous might has hitherto, in its actual exercise, been only approximately unitous, although the phenomena of the gradual realization of such a unity occasionally appear in formidable powers. But with the developments of the Antichristian might, corresponds the homage of all who dwell upon the earth, the true slaves of the old ordinances and the old earth, further characterized as those whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. The meaning of this is—they lack the Divine trait of a believing aptitude for suffering, of willingness to suffer for the truth, to suffer with Christ.
The highly significant words now following, to which the arousing challenge is prefixed, “if any man hath an ear, let him hear,” may primarily conduce to the comfort of believers amid the persecutions which the Beast prepares for them. The Old Testament law of the strictest retribution, in spite of that misunderstanding which regards it as abrogated in the social affairs of life, because it is thus abrogated, by a higher law, in the Kingdom of Love, of personal relations, re-appears at the close of the New Testament in all its freshness, nay, in sharper outlines than before. We refer our readers to the original text and the attempt of the translation to reproduce it.29 The retribution will correspond in each case to the fault.
Believers are to comfort themselves with these words in their sorrows. The words are, also, however, designed for their instruction, for even well-meaning, pious zeal has, in manifold ways, violated the law of the patience [endurance] of the saints. Often are the sufferings of a later Christian generation expiations of ancient trespasses, committed in a sphere in which the patience [endurance] and the faith of the saints alone win the victory. Here appears the vital law which lies at the foundation of the patience and faith of the saints. The more prominence is given to this law, inasmuch as just these excesses of pious zeal to which we have referred, are connected with the contrast which now comes to view with the appearance of the second Beast, that arises from the earth. This Beast from the earth, the supreme issue of the spirit of corrupt theocratic authority, the spiritual extract of the fallen hierarchy, is a still more hateful monster than the Beast out of the sea. He is personified baseness, for he denies his origin, the consecrated earth of God. He is personified hypocrisy, for he has two horns like a lamb, and he speaks like a dragon; he is, therefore, still worse than the Beast out of the sea, in Satanic falseness, in Satanic hate. He is, likewise, personified hollowness, in that he begins to imitate the deeds of the first Beast. Finally, he is personified reprobacy, in that he becomes an eye-servant of the first Beast, changing from a prophet of God into a prophet of Antichrist. The prototype of such “arch-rogues” was Judas, when he became subservient to the enemies of Christ, himself excelling them in depravity.30 Even in earlier Judaism such traitors made their appearance, especially in the time of the Maccabees, when Simon, Jason, Menelaus and the like figured (2 Mac. 4). In reality, Caiaphas, in his relation to the Romans, belongs to this class. Throughout the Christian ages such perfidies have been repeated: there was a rank growth of them in the French revolution in particular. Even our own time betrays a peculiar disposition to the production of such subjects. The approach to the bridge of treason is, however, visible at all times in such tendencies as seek to obliterate, as far as possible, the contrast between God and the world, sin and grace, inwardness and outward show. But at all events, the master of false prophecy is yet to come—the vice-Antichrist, acting as the deputy [Scherge] of the head Antichrist, and seeking to save at least his thirty pieces of silver out of the wreck of his former system. Thus, therefore, the False Prophet enters the service of Antichrist; his office, henceforth, is to gain adherents for his master. He it is who also prepares the earth for apostasy. A special motive which he urges to induce men to become worshippers of the Beast, is the fact that his deadly wound is healed. This, in his sense, signifies that the operation of Christianity is exhausted—that Christianity has outlived itself—Biblical, pristine Christianity is at an end. This false, counterfeit lamb does great signs, and would even, in appearance, imitate the former Church-ban by a ban of nature, and make fire fall from Heaven. Here, especially, we perceive the heavenly integrity of the former Son of Thunder, who once desired to make fire fall from Heaven upon a Samaritan city. He now knows to what such a proceeding would lead, and knows that God has reserved to Himself the right in the final judgment to let fire fall from Heaven on the Satanic mob (Rev 20). The signs, however, which the false lamb really executes, to the seduction of men, will be lying signs, like the cause which he serves—or, at all events, grandiose magical arts.31 The greatest sign is the infatuation of men into making an image to the Beast—to the Beast, moreover, as presenting the mockery of Christ’s resurrection, as having been wounded to death, and as having revived again—i.e., to the invincible, immortal Beast. It is a slight reminder of the sin of Aaron, that the men must make the image, but the False Prophet himself gives it a spirit, so that the image of the Beast can speak. Thus, in fine, the theory, science, poetry, and art of Antichristianity speak just as does this Beast himself in his practical shape. The declaration that the tendency of the image was to cause that all who would not worship the Beast should be killed, is doubtless to be taken as referring to social death; and matters even arrive at such a pass that those who refuse their countenance to the Beast are, by his godless company, who have adopted an absolutely anti-symbolical symbolum, completely excluded from social intercourse, as indicated by buying and selling. Thus there is already prepared, by the world, that separation which Christ, at His coming, shall judicially consummate.
[ABSTRACT OF VIEWS, ETC.]
By the American Editor
[ELLIOTT: The dejected Dragon (Satan) persecutes the Woman (the true, primitive, orthodox, catholicly united Church), also fallen from Heaven (her first figured state of elevation and glory), by inciting against, her (1) Arian emperors (Constantius, A. D. 337–361; Valens, A. D. 364–378): (2) temptations to superstition: (3) the Arian-Pagan Gothic flood (see below). The flight into the wilderness indicates a change, not of place, but of state; it implies “the faithful Church’s (gradual) loss of its previous character of Catholicity or Universality, its invisibility in respect of true Christian public worship and destitution of all ordinary means of spiritual sustenance.” (For the period of the Wilderness-state, Rev 12:14, see below with Rev 13:5) The two wings of the great eagle, the assisting and protecting influence of the Eastern and Western divisions of the great, eagle-symbolized, Roman Empire united under Theodosius the Great; these wings were given to her: Theodosius was not only a Church-member, but appears to have been a truly pious man.32 The flood cast out of the serpent’s mouth, the Arian-Pagan Gothic invasions (a double idea suggested: (1) what flows from the mouth is doctrine, good or bad, Prov. 18:4; 15:28; (2) floods are a constant Scripture metaphor for the invasion of hostile nations, Isa. 8:7; Jer. 46:7; Ezek. 26:3; Nahum 1:8, etc.; see also, with the double sense, Ps. 144:7); such was the fury of this flood as “to sweep away all the political bulwarks of the Roman authority before it; and thus might well have been deemed sufficient to sweep away also the Christian Church and Christianity itself, the professed religion of the Empire.” The earth helped, etc.: “In those continuous and bloody wars of which the Western world had been the theatre, the barbarous invading population was so thinned, so absorbed, as it were, into the land they had invaded, that it needed their incorporation as one people with the conquered to make up the necessary constituency of Kingdoms. And in this incorporation, not only was much of their original institutions, customs and languages absorbed, but their religion altogether. … So the Arianism of the invading flood, as well as its Paganism, was seen no more. It was absorbed, as it were, into the soil, and had disappeared.” The Beast from the sea (Rev 13:1) is one with (1) the Beast from the Abyss (Rev 17:3); (2) the little horn of Daniel’s fourth wild Beast (Dan. 7:7, 8, 19–24); (3) St. Paul’s Man of sin (2 Thess. 2:1–12); (4) St. John’s Antichrist (1 John 2:18–22; 4:3; 2 John 7), and symbolizes the PAPAL EMPIRE (the sea representing the flood of invading Goths): the seven heads signify (1) seven hills (of Rome), Rev 17:9; (2) “the number of different successive governing heads of bestial character—forms of government—which (not another Beast or Empire, but) the same individual seven-hilled Roman Empire would be under from first to last, from its early origin to its final destruction; there being here premised, however, … that the seventh head visible on the Apocalyptic Beast would be, in order of existence, its eighth (Rev 17:11),”33 they (five having fallen at the time of the Apocalypse, 17:10) represent (a) Kings, (b) Consuls, (c) Dictators, (d) Decemvirs, (e) Military Tribunes, (f) the στέφανος crowned Emperors beginning with Augustus (the head then existing), (g) the διάδημα Emperors beginning with Diocletian,34 (this head received its deadly wound in the edict of Theodosius, suppressing Pagan worship, which edict, according to Gibbon, Rev 28, “inflicted a deadly wound on Paganism,” but revived or sprouted again as an eighth head, viz.;) (h) the Popedom—professedly Christian, but essentially heathen: the ten horns represent the ten kingdoms into which the Western Empire was divided (and which gave their power and strength unto the Beast, Rev 17:12, 13), viz., (1) the Anglo-Saxons, (2) the Franks of Central France, (3) Alleman-Franks of Eastern France, (4) the Burgundic Franks of South-eastern France, (5) the Visigoths, (6) the Suevi, (7) the Vandals, (8) the Ostro-Goths in Italy, (9) the Bavarians, (10) the Lombards; (with changes, “the number ten will be found to have been observed on from time to time, as that of the Western Roman or Papal Kingdoms”): the Beast and the ten horns receive their power at one and the same time (μίαν ὥραν, Rev 17:12), i. e., from about A. D. 430–530; three horns plucked up before the Beast (Dan. 7:8), the subjection of the Vandals, Ostrogoths and Lombards to the temporal power of the Pope (A. D. 533–755, in which last year was Pepin’s donation of the Exarchate of Ravenna—a donation confirmed and enlarged by Charlemagne, A. D. 774, which completed Peter’s Patrimony); blasphemies, as Christ’s Vicar assuming all his offices as Prophet, Priest and King; worshipped (Rev 13:4, comp. 2 Thess. 2:4), the Pope seats himself “on the day of his consecration upon God’s high Altar under the dome of St. Peter’s, there to receive the adoration of his Cardinals,” and “in the eighth century it was Gregory the Second’s boast to the Greek Emperor, ‘All the kings of the West reverence the Pope as a God on Earth’ ” (Gibbon; see also Secular and Ecc: Histories). The two-horned Beast represents the Papal Clergy united under the Pope in his ecclesiastical character as Western Patriarch, and acting so as to support his usurpation as Vicar of Christ: (1) he has horns like a lamb, and speaks as a dragon, i. e. under pretence of preaching the Gospel, he elaborates a denial of Christ; (2) he exercises all the power and authority of the first Beast before (i. e. as responsible to) him, the grand characteristic (assumed) power of the Pope—that of the keys—is delegated to the clergy; (3) signs, the assumption by the clergy of the power to work miracles; (4) causing them that dwell on the Earth to worship, the entire influence of the clergy exercised to support the usurped claims of the Pope. The Image of the Beast symbolizes the Papal General Councils, which virtually represented the Head of Antichristendom,35 (1) it was the two-horned Beast (the papal clergy) that said to them who dwelt on the Roman Earth, that they should make the image (constitute a General Council); (2) it was given to this Beast to give breath to the image, etc.—it was the peculiarity of the General Councils that on matters ecclesiastical the clergy should alone have voice; (3) the Image was made to be worshipped—these Councils claimed to pronounce infallibly on questions of religion and faith; (4) the Image caused as many as would not worship it to be put to death—the Councils anathematized and excommunicated all who would not submit to their decrees. The name is, the one suggested by Irenæus, Δατεινός—the numerical value of the constituent letters of which is (λ, 30 + α, 1+ τ, 300+ ε, 5 + ι, 10 + ν, 50 + ο, 70 + ς, 200=) 666; the imposing on men the mark, etc., is causing the inhabitants of the Roman Earth to devote themselves to the Papal Antichrist, and this both in profession (forehead) and action (hand), even as soldiers to their emperor, slaves to their master, devotees to their god.—The period of the Beast’s continuance as a persecuting power, Rev 13:5, and of the wilderness-state of the Church, Rev 12:6, is twelve hundred and sixty prophetic days or years: the primary terminus a quo of this period is the promulgation of Justinian’s Code and Decretal Epistle to the Pope, A. D.). 529–533; the secondary epoch is the Decree of Phocas, A. D. 604–608; the primary concluding terminus, A. D. 1789–1793, “the epoch by which a blow was dealt to the Papal power from which it has never recovered.” (In reference to the secondary concluding terminus, Elliott calls attention to the fact, that Daniel (12:11, 12) foretells a supplemental period of seventy-five years which he (writing in A. D. 1861) suggested was probably to be added to that terminus in A. D. 1864–8. Writing in A. D. 1868 (Postscript to Preface, Vol. I.), he claims that the Bull of the Pope for the Convocation of an Œcumenical Council, issued in that year, in that it does not invite Sovereigns to sit in that Council, is “an admission of the completed ending of the period of the kings of Western Christendom spiritually subjecting the power of their kingdoms to him; that is, of the completed ending of twelve hundred and sixty years.” The present he regards as the supplemental period, to close about A. D. 1943.36
BARNES: (Rev 12:13–17). Satan (after his failure to destroy the Church through Pagan persecutions, see p. 240), “puts forth his power and manifests his hostility in another form—that of the Papacy… The Church is, however, safe from that attempt to destroy it, for the Woman is represented as fleeing to the wilderness (some place of refuge—possibly the retreats of the Waldenses, deserts, monasteries, etc.), beyond the power of the enemy, and is there kept alive. Still filled with rage, though incapable of destroying the true Church itself, he turns his wrath, under the form of Papal persecutions, against individual Christians.”—(Ch. 13) The first Beast is the one (secular) Roman power contemplated as made up of ten subordinate kingdoms, which “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.” The second Beast is the Papacy considered as a spiritual power, putting on the apparent gentleness of the lamb, but at the same time possessing the spirit of the Dragon. The deadly wound of the first Beast indicates that the Roman civil and secular power was so waning (in consequence of the invasion of the Northern hordes) as to be in danger of extinction; the healing symbolizes the restorative and preservative influence of the Church of Rome upon the secular empire. The secular power thus preserved is to continue 1260 prophetic days or years—blaspheming (by its (1) arrogant claims, (2) assumed authority in matters of conscience, (3) setting aside Divine authority, (4) impions declarations in derogation of the Divine claims); persecuting (e. g., the Waldenses, Albigenses, etc.), but at last shall (1) go into captivity,37 (2) come to an end in blood.—The image of the Beast symbolizes the civil government strongly resembling the old Roman dominion, which the spiritual power of the Papacy caused to exist, depending for its vital energy on the Papacy, and in its turn, lending its aid to support the Papacy.38—In reference to the name and mark of the Beast, Barnes agrees with Elliott.
STUART: (Ch. 13). The first Beast symbolizes the Pagan Roman Empire; the second, the Pagan Priesthood; the deadly wound of one of the heads, the death of Nero, one of the seven Kings of Rev 17:10, 11; the restoration, the belief of a reappearance of that emperor(!);39 the image, the statue erected to him as a god; the forty-two months, the period of the Neronic persecution (from November, A. D. 64 to June, A. D. 68); the name, נֵרוֹן קֵסַר, the letters of which give the number 666.
WORDSWORTH: “The Two Wings are emblems of the Two Testaments; … the Church flies on their pinions in her missionary course through the wilderness of this world.” The flood and the help of the earth, he interprets as Elliott.—(Ch. 13) He agrees with Elliott in the exposition of this chapter, with the following exceptions: By the seven heads he understands (Rev 17:10, 11) “the kingdoms which were successively absorbed within the circle of the Roman Empire, … the (1) Babylonian, (2) Medo-Persian, (3) Greek, (4) Syrian, (5) Egyptian, (6) Roman Heathen Imperial … (7) Imperial power of Germany.” By the wounding, the ceasing of the imperial power in the abdication of Augustulus—it is not said that the Head was restored, but that the wound of the Beast was healed (Rev 13:12), the Beast lived on in the Papacy. By the image, “the personification of the Papacy, in the visible form of the Pontiff for the time being.”
ALFORD: (Rev 12:13–18.) The figure of the wings is taken from Old Testament expressions in reference to the flight of Israel from Egypt (Ex. 19:4; Deut. 32:11). “We must not understand (by) the Woman, the invisible spiritual Church of Christ, nor (by) her flight into the wilderness, the withdrawal of God’s true servants from the eyes of the world… I own that considering the analogies and the language used (in reference to Israel in the desert), I am much more disposed to interpret the persecution of the Woman by the Dragon, of the various persecutions by Jews which followed the Ascension, and her flight into the wilderness, of the gradual withdrawing of the Church and her agency from Jerusalem and Judea, finally consummated by the flight to the mountains on the approaching siege… And then the river … might be variously understood—of the Roman armies which threatened to sweep away Christianity—or of the persecutions which followed the Church into her retreats, but eventually became absorbed by the civil power turning Christian—or of the Jewish nation itself, banded together against Christianity wherever it appeared, but eventually itself becoming powerless against it by its dispersion and ruin—or, again, of the influx of heretical opinions from the Pagan philosophies which tended to swamp the true faith. I confess that not one of these seems to me satisfactorily to answer the conditions; nor do we gain any thing by their combination.… As to the time indicated by the 1260 days, or 3½ years, the interpretations given have not been convincing, nor even specious.” See also the extract from Alford on p. 242. He concludes his section with the words: “This latter part of the vision yet waits its clearing up.”—Chap. 13) The first Beast is one with the four Beasts of Daniel and that of Rev 17; he symbolizes the aggregate of the empires of this world as opposed to Christ and His Kingdom; the seven heads are (1) Egypt, (2) Nineveh, (3) Babylon, (4) Persia, (5) Græcia, (6) Rome, (7) the Christian Empire beginning with Constantine; the wounding (with Auberlen), the conversion of the empire to Christianity, by virtue of which the Beast in his proper essence, in the fullness of his opposition to God and His saints, ceases to be; the worship, etc., “are a sort of parody on ascriptions of praise to God (Ex. 15:11; Ps. 35:10; 71:19; Is. 40:18,25; 46:5, etc.): they represent to us the relapse into all the substantial elements of Paganism of the resuscitated empire;” the forty-two months, the well-known period of the agency of Antichrist. The second Beast, identical with the false Prophet of Rev 19:20, is the reviver and upholder of the first; in reference to the first, he is (1) identical as to genus, (2) diverse in origin, (3) subsidiary in zeal and action; he symbolizes the sacerdotal persecuting power, Pagan and Christian, which, gentle in its aspect and professions, was yet cruel in its actions. The Image, the statue of the Emperor, which every where men were made to worship; “it is not so easy to assign a meaning to the giving life and speech to the Image… The allusion probably is to some lying wonders permitted to the Pagan priests to try the faith of God’s people. We cannot help, as we read, thinking of the moving images, and winking and speaking pictures, so often employed for purposes of imposture by their far less excusable Papal successors.” Rev 13:16, 17 point to the commercial and spiritual interdicts which have, both by Pagan and by Papal persecutors, been laid on non-conformity. Concerning the name and number, he writes in the Prolegomena, §5, 32: “It (Δατεινός) is beyond question the best solution that has been given; but that it is not the solution, I have a persuasion amounting to a certainty.” (See also in loc.)
LORD: (Rev 12:13–17.) “The Dragon who followed the Woman symbolizes the Pagan priests and their abettors;.. their following after her denotes their attempt to join her society by a profession of Christianity.” “The Serpent … was not the Devil who fought with Michael, but the Monster Dragon of seven heads (see p. 242), … it represents the rulers of the Roman Empire from the elevation of Constantine.” The gift to the Woman of the wings, denotes that supernatural aids were granted her, viz.: graces that formed a part of herself; the river, the flood of false doctrines and superstitious rites introduced by Constantine and his successors; the earth, the people generally, who eagerly embraced the adulterated religion, and who by their exulting reception of it so occupied the attention of the rulers as to allow the dissentients to escape; the retreat from the face of the serpent, the flight of the true Church to a place unknown (the Waldenses, etc.); the anger of the serpent, the continued disposition to destroy; the making war with the remnant, the persecution of isolated dissentients; the time, times, and half a time, twelve hundred and sixty years.—(Ch. 13) The first Beast symbolizes “the Gothic rulers who established governments in the Western Empire during the Fifth century, and their successors and subjects to the present time;” the symbols of the first part of Rev 13:2, that this government unites in itself the agility of the leopard, the strength of the bear, and the mercilessness and voracity of the lion; the head receiving the wound was the last—the wounding denotes the slaughter of all Christian heirs to the throne and the accession of Julian the apostate; the recovery, the restoration of the Christian succession in Jovian; the worship, etc., of Rev 13:3, 4, that the populace (1) entertained for their rulers awe and admiration, (2) and, regarding them as having acquired the rights of the old Roman Emperors, acquiesced in their assumptions in matters of religion; the great things and blasphemy, usurpations of authority over Divine rights, laws, etc.; Rev 13:7, the persecutions of the Albigenses, Waldenses, etc.; Rev 13:9, 10 predict the slaughter and vassalage of all who should attempt to deliver themselves from religious tyranny by force (exemplified in the history of all persecuted peoples); the forty-two months denotes 1260 years of domination (the terminus a quo being about A. D. 597 or somewhat later).40 The second Beast indicates the “hierarchy of the Italian Catholic Church within the Papal dominions;” the earth whence he came, the population of the empire under a settled government; the two horns, twofold rule (civil and military)—lamb-like (apparently for ornament and defence), dragon-like (aggressive, insatiable, merciless); Rev 13:12 (first part), that it exercises the same power (civil and military) as the first Beast, and contemporaneously (issuing and executing decrees, making war, etc.); Rev 13:12 (second part), the leading of the populace to submit to blasphemous usurpations of the emperors; Rev 13:13, 14, the pretended miracles of the priesthood. The Image symbolizes the Papal Kingdom which the priesthood established—“the union of their several national churches into a single hierarchy, and subjection of them to the Pope as their supreme legislative and judicial head, after the model of the ancient civil Empire under Constantine,” etc. The Name is Δατεινός, whose letters give the number 666. Rev 13:16, 18 indicate excommunication and outlawry for non-conformity.
GLASGOW: (Rev 12:13–18.) Rev 13:13. When Satan could not prevent the external prosperity of the Church, he diffused the poison of heresy. Rev 13:14. The second flight of the Woman; the great eagle is the fourth Ζῶα of chap. 4;41 the flight to the desert indicates expatriation (in the valleys of Piedmont, etc.); the time, etc., the prophetic period of 1260 years (beginning about A. D. 607).42 Rev 13:15–17, as Elliott.—(Ch. 13) This is not a new vision, but a continuation of the preceding—the Dragon that sank down in the sea (Rev 12:18) emerges in a new form and with a new name; this Beast (see p. 242) emerges from the sea, i. e., “of the Arian Goths and northern Pagans, and remanent Pagans of the Empire.” For his expositions of the heads, see p. 242; in his interpretation of the horns he agrees with Elliott, p. 259. The wounding denotes the fall of the Western Empire, partially in A. D. 476, and more completely A. D. 493—this fall did not imply a total cessation of the imperial power; the imperial laws and principles were so adopted by the barbarian conquerors that ultimately a new Roman Empire sprang to life from the contused head of the old (the restoration). The transition of the Beast from the Dragon-form spanned over the time from Constantine to Justinian; the forty-two months were allotted to him after the healing of the mortal stroke, and their beginning (A. D. 529–532) was marked by the institution of the Benedictine Order, and the publication of the Code of Justinian. The second Beast is the Papal hierarchy (generally on this subject he agrees with Elliott). The Image—(sic)—“this we at once recognize in the temporal power of the Pope, and the territory called Peter’s Patrimony, granted by Pepin in A. D. 754; to which may be added the creation of cardinals, who are at once priests and temporal lords;” (this image of the monster has not the term of 1260 prophetic days assigned to it; the giving of spirit to it was fulfilled in the summoning of Western Councils—by these it both spoke and acted. The Name and number, Δατεινός, is one, though not the sole, solution of the problem. (He presents the following, all bearing on the Latin Church: BΒνεδικτός, Ἰταλικὴ ἐκκλησία, Εὐπορία, Παράδοσις, Ἕσπερος ἀββᾶ, ראשׁ לקהל, Vicarius Filii Dei, Vicarius generalis Dei in terris, etc.).
AUBERLEN: (Ch. 13) This writer in many points agrees with Elliott, and his views have to a considerable extent been adopted by Alford, Glasgow and others. According to him: The first Beast represents the world-power; the seven heads, (1) Egypt, (2) Assyria, (3) Babylon, (4) Medo-Persia, (5) Greece, (6) Rome, (7) the Germanic-Sclavonic Empire; the wounding, the conversion to Christianity of the seventh head;43 the healing, the apostatizing of the Christian head (this is the eighth head of Rev 17:11, the Antichristian Kingdom, in the strict sense;44 probably a person45); the ten horns denote ten kingdoms into which the last head is to be divided (this division is still future). The second Beast is identical with the False Prophet of Rev 19:20, and with the human eyes of the little horn of Dan. 7:8; the first Beast is a physical, political—this a spiritual power, the power of doctrine and knowledge, of intellectual cultivation, of ideas; he arises from the earth, i. e., the civilized, consolidated, orderly world; he comes in a Christian garb and name, the horns of the lamb, but with the spirit and speech of the Dragon (comp. Matt. 7:15); the Image which the False Prophet causes to be made (the historical substratum of which is in the image in Dan. 3, and the statues of the Roman Emperors, to which divine worship was paid), denotes the deification of the world and the world-power—this is the new heathenism, sinking back into the deification of nature and humanity, of which it cannot be predicted what forms of folly and bestiality (Rom. 1:22 sq.) it shall yet assume; with this enhancement of idolatry, seem to be connected new demonic mighty operations, according to Rev 13:15. Rev 13:15–17 contain a prophecy that all public intercourse will be on condition of receiving the mark of the Beast (which is significantly contrasted with the Seal of the servants of God, Rev 7:3 sqq.), and that true believers will be given into the hand of Antichrist for persecution, as is intimated, Dan. 7:21, 25; Matt. 24:9.46—E. R. C.]
EXPLANATIONS IN DETAIL
Rev 12:13. He persecuted the woman.—First he persecuted her Child, the holy Christ Himself; now he persecutes the Woman, the institution of the Kingdom of God; subsequently, when the Woman has, in respect of her outward appearance, allied herself with the earth, he persecutes her inner essentiality—that which is later to appear as the Bride—in her remaining children. That the earth must, equally with the wilderness, be symbolically apprehended, is required by the consistency of the description.
Rev 13:14. The two wings.—The saving providence of God is represented, in eagle-like flight; the Church has so intimately appropriated this providence, that it may be said that the eagle-wings are given her, Rom. 8:28–37. As the deliverance on eagles’ wings, into the wilderness, is suggestive of Israel’s deliverance, so, also, an entrance into the heavenly Canaan is in view; not, however, the Judaizing prospect of the external leadership of a Jewish Church at the end of the world.47
Where she is nourished.—The beginning of this fact had arrived even in the ancient days of John—with the flight to Pella. The typical element in the miraculous nourishment of Israel in the wilderness is here touched upon. She is nourished (and thus preserved) from the face of the serpent (Bengel, Ewald, et al.). That the wilderness is to be apprehended in a symbolical sense, is manifest from the fact that the Woman, whilst in it, is unattainable for Satan, although elsewhere earthly wildernesses are designated as a favorite abode of evil spirits. The Serpent, therefore, sends a stream of water out of his mouth after the escaped Woman.
Rev 13:15, 16. Water as a river.—That is, in the form of an apparently incessant current. Düsterdieck vainly labors to fix upon the interpretation of the torrent of water as a torrent of nations an allegoristic character. It is the simple historico-philological explanation of a very pronounced allegorical figure; whilst, on the other hand, the general application of the figure to pressing dangers, or the citation of billows of death and streams of destruction (Ps. 18:4), is meaningless in this connection, it being the intention of Satan not to kill the woman outright, but to cause her to be carried away of the river—possibly, only to cause her “to float with the current” (Ποταμοφόρητον). The divergent specializations of the stream of nations do, indeed, rest upon ill-advised and arbitrary guesswork, practised in conformity to the theory of Church-historical predictions (persecutors; wicked men and evil demons; heretics; Saracens; Ewald: a sore peril menacing the fugitive Christians by the Jordan! See Düsterdieck). Düsterdieck’s objections against the general reference of the water-stream to streaming nations (p. 418) are based upon a continuous misapprehension of allegorical modes of expression. He asks: “Can it be said that the Germanic peoples came, like a flood, out of the jaws of Satan, and were swallowed up by the earth?” It may, assuredly, be assumed that in the first motions of the migrations of nations, especially in the rising of the Huns, demonic impulses were at play; and, similarly, it may be asserted that the Theocratic order of the Mediæval Occident overcame the hostile torrent of barbarians.
And [Lange: But] the earth.—Neither the application of this figure to the cultured Roman world (Auberlen) or to another opposing worldly power (Hengstenberg), nor the reference of it to the cleaving Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4), in accordance with the opinion that the final Anti-christian time is here exclusively spoken of (Ebrard), corresponds to the explicit character of this Old Testament type.
Rev 13:17. And the dragon was wroth.—Since the Dragon has already been wroth against the Woman, an increase of wrath is here expressed, developed in the conflict with the Woman. Hence the reading: ἐπί in conjunction with τῇ γυναικί is significant. The preposition ἐπί with the dative may, indeed, simply denote the object of an action, but it often signifies: concerning, on account of, about, and this is most frequently the case with verbs that indicate an emotion of the mind (as here). Satan becomes so incensed concerning the combat with the Woman that he now departs, etc.
With the remnant—See above. A copious treatise on this point see in Düsterdieck, who, however, by these remaining ones apprehends, with Züllig, the Zionites (?) on earth.48
Rev 13:18. And he stood.—[See TEXT. AND GRAM., Note 7.—E. R. C.] According to De Wette and many others, the reading ἐστάθη is exegetically impossible. In reality, however, the reading of the Recepta, ἐστάθην, for which there is less authority, is far less possible. See above. Since a demonic operation upon the sea of nations is in question, Satan takes his station upon the sandy shore, a place where the earth is flat and the sea shallow. A contemporaneous appearance of the Dragon, on the sand, and the Beast, above the waves of the ocean, is not declared; the Dragon vanishes as the Beast inspired by him makes his appearance.
Rev 13:1.49 Ascending out of the sea.—See the Introduction. Out of the sea of nations: Many interpreters from Victorinus down. Out of Europe (! Bengel); out of the Italian insular kingdom (Ewald). The sea is the sea and nothing more, Düsterdieck declares, just as the earth is the literal earth—why, then, are not also the Beasts literal beasts?
A wild-beast.—Doubtless, only the God-opposed, Antichristian world-power can primarily be intended—eschatologically concentrated and modified, however (Auberlen, Hengstenberg). One-sided, therefore, is the interpretation of the Beast as pagan Rome (from Victorinus to Bleek and many others); and equally one-sided is the application of it to papal Christian Rome (Vitringa, Bengel, et al.). The import of the figure, undoubtedly, does not gravitate backward to heathen Rome, but, in accordance with its eschatological tendency, forward to Christian Rome. Heathen Rome can be but visible in one of the seven heads; and the like is true of Christian Rome, or, rather, the ecclesiastico-political Rome of the Middle Ages. The Beast is ἀναβαῖνον through a long period. With the circumstance that the terrestrial ocean embraces the earth, the fact that the Beast from the earth does not appear as co-regent with the Beast out of the sea, but as his vassal, must not be confounded, as in Düsterdieck.—The Beast, as θηρίον, is to be distinguished from ζῶον; the word is indicative of a bestially ferocious nature, see Dan. 7:1.
Ten horns.—See the Introduction.
Seven heads.—Interpreted as seven world-periods; or seven persecutions of Christians; or seven Antichristian world-powers. Hengstenberg defines these powers as follows (2:13): The Chaldean, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman kingdoms. The first and second heads he looks for as existing before the Chaldean empire. Consequently, “only Egypt and Assyria can be thought of.” The sixth kingdom, he affirms, is that of Rome, in accordance with Rev 17:10; the seventh endures, as he believes, until the cessation of the God-opposed power, and passes into the ten horns or God-opposed kings. We have taken the liberty of apprehending the seven heads otherwise (p. 25 sq.). In the first place, it is, in all probability, to be taken for granted that the Apocalyptist retains the four world-monarchies of Daniel. In accordance with his manner of constructing the seven, he then follows up the pre-Christian quaternary with a ternary, beginning with the Christian era. John would be more apt to include the Herodian kingdom in his system of heads than Egypt or Assyria. With Christianity, pronounced Antichristianity first began—began primarily, in the Herodian forms,50 and continued in the new phase of the Christ-opposed Roman empire, as distinct from the Danielic vision of the Roman republic. With the application of the Beast to pagan Rome, a manifold explanation of the seven heads has been connected (the seven hills with ten kings, seven emperors with ten prefects). With the reference of the Beast to papal Rome, Vitringa conjoined an enumeration of seven principal forms of Roman government, from kings and consuls to the pope; by the ten horns he understood ten kingdoms subservient to the papacy, from the French kingdom to the Polish (see Düsterdieck). Pursuant to the interpretation of the Beast as the pagan Roman empire, Düsterdieck, in accordance with others (see Bleek, p. 326), makes of the ten horns with ten crowns ten Roman emperors; 1. Augustus; 2. Tiberius; 3. Caligula; 4. Claudius; 5. Nero; 6. Galba; 7. Otho; 8. Vitellius; 9. Vespasian; 10. Titus. The tenth, corresponding to the seventh head, is, he declares, still future [to the Seer]. His exposition of the relation between the ten horns and seven heads may be found p. 432. The whole, therefore, according to his view, is a petty repetition of the history of the time, clothed, in an illusory manner, in prophetico-symbolic form. It is not to be denied that the self-deifications of Roman emperors (Düsterdieck, page 58) were types of Antichristian blasphemies.
Names of blasphemy.—It is neither assumable, with Züllig, that the individual heads bore frontlets, on each of which was inscribed one letter, the whole number making together the inscription: קֹדֶשׁ לְשָׂטָן (although the antithetic reference to the frontlet of the High Priest, Holiness to Jehovah, is certainly ingenious)—nor that upon every head the same blasphemous name was written, according to Düsterdieck and others. Why should not a sevenfold form of Antichristian self-deification, corresponding to the seven world-powers, be intended? Bede refers to the name Augustus; Bengel conjectured that the name Papa was intended; Hengstenberg suggests the name of Christ, Rev 19:16.
Rev 13:2. And the wild-beast that I saw was like, etc.—The Beast is a compound of the four Danielic Beasts, Dan. 7:4; amongst these, however, we regard the fourth Beast as the Roman world-kingdom, since the third Beast (Rev 7:6) has the same number as the Greek world-kingdom (Rev 8:8)—four wings, four heads, four horns. It is entirely incorrect, on the other hand, to identify the eschatological anti-theocratic horn (Rev 7:8) with the precursory anti-theocratic horn (Rev 8:8). Be it observed, however, in this connection, that the fourth Beast in Daniel, as the real eschatological Beast, embraces, together with the vision of the Roman kingdom, the entire series of world-powers, as coinciding, in perspective, with that kingdom. The ground-color of the Apocalyptic Beast is variegated, as was formerly the color of the Greek kingdom in its division. The fact that, with John, the four kingdoms have become one kingdom, rests upon the depth of intuition by which he has perceived the unitous demonic foundation of the world-kingdoms. The circumstance that the ten horns of the fourth Danielic Beast find their parallel in the ten horns of the Apocalyptic Beast, which embraces all the world-kingdoms, reposes upon the common symbolism of the number ten and the horns, by which a perfectly developed and organically ramified world-power is expressed. Amongst the different interpretations of the individual bestial forms, that of Cocceius is particularly interesting: Varii coloris. Ad hanc bestiam enim pertinent Christiani servientes episcopis et aliud principium fidei constituentes, item Ariani, Musulmanni, etc.
And the Dragon gave him, etc.—After this inauguration, the Dragon seems to retire from the scene. His representative now comes forward. The Devil has vanished from theology, philosophy, and popular consciousness, but Antichrist is present, in whom the genius of the former secretly lives on. To him is transferred, first, the demonic power, the true method of combining falsehood, hatred, and the breath of death into a magical agency. Then he has, secondly, the demonic throne, i. e., there is hence-forth a centre of diabolical evil in this present world. Thirdly, great demonic authority is committed to him; he has despotic and anarchical organs enough.
Rev 13:3. One from among his heads as if slain [Lange: wounded].—That the Apocalyptist could ascribe the wounding to death of a head of the Antichristian power only to the operation of Christ’s victory, or to Christianity in its assumption of its visible place in history (Hengstenberg), but not to the migration of nations (Calov., Auberlen, De Rougemont. et al.); ought to be understood without further dissertation. Nothing save the ὡς could lead us to doubt that such was the fact, and that only if the word be regarded as indicative exclusively of mere empty appearance. The expression, however, does not mean that the wound itself was mere semblance, but that the probability of its inflicting death upon the head, and so, indirectly, upon the Beast, seemed to be mere semblance. The wound was, doubtless, principially mortal (as is evident from the expression: ἡ πληγή τοῦ θανάτου αὐτοῦ, Rev 13:3 and 12—each time referring to the Beast itself), but, so far as outward appearance was concerned, it seemed soon after to be healed, the Antichristian power of this head reviving. Now whilst the ancient Protestant exegesis referred this power, exclusively, to Rome (see Calov., Cocceius, Nikolai, Vitringa, Bengel, in Düsterdieck, p. 438), Düsterdieck maintains the limitation of the seven heads to seven Roman kings. A quid pro quo, he declares, is ascribed to the Apocalyptist when it is asserted that “he represents the holy Roman Empire as the revived world-kingdom of pagan Rome;” such an assertion, he states, is incompatible either with historical truth or with a sound conception of Biblical prophecy. We certainly are not willing to conclude, with Auberlen and others, from ὡς ἐσφαγμ., that an apparently Christian life and essence are ascribed to the healed51 head. The explanation of Hengstenberg is as follows: ὡς ἐσφ., as in the case of the Lamb, means that the slaying was accompanied by real death, but was now perceptible only by the scar, the Beast having become alive again;—this interpretation, also, may be dispatched with the remark that there is a wide difference between the risen Christ and the apparent restoration of the Antichristian Beast. We may safely leave the “holy Roman Empire” its measure of holiness, without, on the one side, with Rothe, regarding the Christian State as the heir of the goods of the Church, or with Hengstenberg, locating the Millennial Kingdom in the Middle Ages; but also without, on the other hand, shutting our eyes to the fact that the mediæval system of government, in its theocratic, ecclesiastico-political character, abandoned itself more and more, in the constraint which it exercised over men in matters of faith, in the Inquisition, in Machiavelism, in papistic and despotic forms of world-empire, to ungodly, worldly, and demonic principles. In the face of this great fact, Düsterdieck arrives at the following interpretation: “The death-wound was given to the (fifth [?]) head by the death of Nero and the immediately following interregnum, etc. The healing of that death-wound took place when Vespasian, the founder of a new race of emperors, restored the empire, as its actual possessor, to its ancient strength and vitality.” Far be it from us to deny that Düsterdieck has performed a meritorious act in refuting that miserable invention—first appearing in the obscure sphere of Victorinus—which regards the fable concerning the risen Nero as here transformed into an Apocalyptic prophecy (see Düsterd., p. 439 sqq.); he has, however, not accomplished the refutation without inconsistency, for if the Apocalyptic king be only a literal king, the wound can not be situate in Nero, and the healing, on the other hand, in Vespasian. Comp. the Introduction to this Commentary, pp. 26 and 60. Explanations by Grotius and Züllig, see in Düsterdieck, p. 439, as also a special reference to the Popes, by Vitringa, in the note on p. 438. Sander thinks the wounded Beast is Gregory VII. Gräber, more appropriately, regards the wounding as the Reformation; in a certain degree, the Reformation does pertain to the death-stroke which the Beast received at the entrance of Christianity into the world.
And the whole earth wondered.52—This applies to the increasingly general despair as to the truth of the victory of Christ and the Christian principle—a despair which is confronted by a sovereignty and an external glory of the world-power which continually become more imposing. To this wonderment and admiration all converts of despotism and particularly of the hierarchy, who have turned their backs on Christianity, specially testify.
Revelation 13:4. And they worshipped the dragon.—The history of gross and subtile devil-service here arrives at its meridian. Most certainly the exclamation: Who is like unto the wild-beast, and who is able to war with him? does bear the appearance of a liturgy of this new demonic cultus, of “a blasphemous parody of the praise with which the Old Testament congregation celebrated the incomparable gloriousness of the living God (comp. Is. 40:25; 44:7, etc.”). DUESTERDIECK. The commentator from whom we have quoted seems, however, to apprehend everything that is said in regard to a worship of the Devil, rather literally; hence he cannot approve of the utterances of Cocceius, according to whom such worship may be offered by the adherents of the papacy. But what is it to offer the most decided personal conviction to a worldly apparent power, let that power be of a hierarchical or a political nature? In every village where demonic villainy has become such a power that no one dares any more stand up for right and truth against it, there a subtile devil-service reigns, even though the people who indulge in it may still frequent the house of God.
[The verb προσκυνέω is the one elsewhere employed to denote the outward worship that should be offered only to God. See Rev 4:10; 5:14; 7:11; 14:7; 15:4; 19:4, 10; 22:8, 9 (Rev 3:9 may seem to be an exception to the general rule; but even there the reference is to a grovelling in the dust as before a superior being). The reference here, and in Rev 13:8, 12, 15; 14:9, 11; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4, probably is to the payment of Divine honors. These prophecies have almost certainly been fulfilled, either typically or consummately, in the worship offered to the Pope.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:5. And there was given unto him—An actual giving, in the ordinary sense of the term, is not intended, but a perfect abandonment, as a positive Divine destination to judgment. The στόμα of the Beast, employed by him for blasphemy, is even itself to be regarded as a product of world-historical culture. The specifically great mouth may, in a formal aspect, be conceived of as an excessively cultivated mouth, practised in the rhetoric of deceit. Its manifestation in speaking great things, words of outrageous arrogance, of self-glorification (2 Thess. 2), is in close correspondence with its blasphemies. In all great world-kingdoms, political and hierarchical, this polarity of godlessness appears. The great words of the King of Babylon (see Is. 14) were followed by the great words of the successors of Cyrus; these, by the self-deification of Alexander and the anti-theocratic machinations of Antiochus Epiphanes. To the last, finally, succeeded the vain-glorious vaunts and apotheoses of pagan (see Düsterdieck, p. 58) and mediæval Rome, the echoes of whose last word are even yet resounding in all the churches and on all the thrones of Europe. The typical expression of this art of blasphemies is found in Dan. 7:20 and 25. The time which is there granted to the last king for his blasphemy is defined in the form: a time, two times, a half time. Here, the authority of the Beast continues for forty-two months. These periods are not to be chronologically calculated; still less are they to be conformed to each other; the distinction lies in the choice of form. The forty-two months constitute a changeful time of tribulation, in which the number of rest and joy is continually crossed by the number of toil and distress (7 × 6)
Rev 13:6. Unto blasphemies against God.—The blasphemies noticed in Rev 13:5 are here more particularly explained, and that with exceeding pertinence.
To blaspheme (first) His name.—In the more general sense, religion itself; in the more special sense, His revelation, especially His complete revelation in Christianity. The Beast retains a remnant of religious idea sufficient to make a god of himself (Antichristianity=pseudo-Christianity).
(Secondly) His tabernacle.—That is, the Church of God, the true, living Church, mentioned in Amos, Rev 9:11, 12, as the house of God of the λοιποί out of all nations, in antithesis to the splendid edifice of the Temple. According to Düsterdieck, Heaven is meant. But how should Heaven, as distinct from God and from those who dwell in Heaven, be an object of irreligious hate? Possibly it might be thus conceived of by those systems which regard the Earth alone as a place of spiritual life, and to which the idea of the stars as symbols of a local existence beyond this life is repugnant.
The third blasphemy is, however, itself the blasphemy against the life beyond. With those who tabernacle in the heaven, not only is God’s work of grace in Christians who are yet in this world blasphemed, as a recognized reality, but the inhabitants of the world beyond are themselves, likewise, blasphemed as vain shadows, or as men who, for a phantom hope, have sacrificed their pretensions to this present life.
As, to the Name of God, the Beast opposes his own self-deification, so, to the Tabernacle of God, he opposes God’s desecrated Temple (2 Thess. 2:4), and so, finally, to the vital Heaven of the blessed Church of Christ and to the hope of that Heaven, he opposes the present world, made empty and of no account by atheism and communism.
Rev 13:7. To make war with the saints, and to conquer them.—Observe the grand integrity and boldness of the vision. The victory will, indeed, be only an apparent victory, for before God it is the saints who shall remain victors (Rev 12:11); it is not necessary to conclude from this, however, that the Beast will conquer them merely by violence, by imprisonment, exile, death, and all sorts of θλῖψις (Düst.; similarly De Wette and others). We question whether those are the methods of triumph of Antichristianity in the last days. At all events, killing is not spoken of previous to Rev 13:15. In the war of words, also, and the conflict of opinions, the Beast is able to conquer the saints, before an auditory fully given over to the spirit of the times. Even the religious disputations of the time of the Reformation may give us a preliminary idea of the magic of the loudest voices, of bold assurances, of disputatious arts, in presence of a sympathizing audience. Not merely the awkward utterances of an uncalled pious zeal, but also ripe testimonies to the truth, may, in great modern world-circles, be seemingly demolished by so-called witty jests. But when, in the future, public opinion, the press, the forms of mental intercourse in general, shall lapse more and more into what may be the ungodly tendency of the day, the tongues of truth and of love, of men and angels, may, in the end, be drowned by an impious majority of voices. The elect, of course, who are of the truth, will, doubtless, always recognize the voice of truth.
Authority was given him over every tribe, etc.—In connection with morbid universalism, a morbid particularism, on the other hand, is developed; the principle of nationality, which, in its ancient morbid form, preferred the isolation of the heathen nations to the principle of humanity, appears again in a modern morbid form; in this latter form, by the excessive stress which it lays upon tribes, it disintegrates the nation and the state; by an exclusive stress upon the people (for instance, the Italian or the Russian), it disintegrates the Church; and it results in making of the conflict of languages (whose common notions are increasingly denied) an eschatological Babel, and, by the fanatical battle of races [nations], puts an end to the conflict between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. The relative authorization of the principle of nationality in the Kingdom of God has been earlier expressed in the Apocalypse (Rev 5:9; also, it is probable, Rev 11:9). The fixedness of the four forms (φυλή, etc.; also Rev 14:6) manifests, at the same time, their authorization. Hence we have particularly to consider the distinction of λαός (עם cultured people, primarily Israel) and ἔθνος (גוֹי a nationality, nation or race). At the last, this classification is perturbed, as it appears, by the agency of Antichristianity (Rev 17:5).
Rev 13:8. And all that dwell upon the earth.—The dwelling on earth is the common characteristic of the different modern heathendoms: all who have made themselves at home in this world simply and exclusively. [The expression: “they that dwell upon the Earth” (οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς) here, and elsewhere (Rev 3:10; 6:10; 8:13; 11. 10 bis; 12:12; 13:8, 12, 14 bis; 14:6; 17:2, 8) might be translated worldlings. It designates such as are in antithesis to those whose conversation is in Heaven, who live as pilgrims and sojourners here.—E. R. C.]
Shall worship him (προσκυήσουσιν).—Αὐτόν is rightly referred by Düsterdieck,—against Hengstenberg, who understands by it the king, Rev 17:11—to the chief subject ὁ δράκων, with the remark that the future form corresponds with such a reference [“(comp., on the other hand, Rev 13:4): as the activity of the Beast, in respect of its decisive part, is still in the future (comp. Rev 13:7, where it is first Divinely given to the Beast what it shall do), so also is the worship of the Dragon thereby induced still future.” DUESTERDIECK.—TR.]. There continually develops more and more fully, along with the enthusiastic veneration of the Antichristian power, a conscious bowing of the knee before the Satanic principles which lie at the foundation of that power (slander, murder, absolute egoism) and before the Dragon himself.
Every one whose name, etc.—Thus a contrast is found—not merely in a general way, but betwixt man and man—between the worshippers of the Dragon and those whose names are written in the book of life. This writing here denotes that security of the people of God which is expressed in Rev 7 by the sealing. And now the following question arises—Shall we read: Written in the book of life of the Lamb that hath been slain from the foundation of the world (Vulg., Bede, etc.), as the immediate reference of the closing words [ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου] seems to demand, or: written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that hath been slain (Grotius, Bengel, Hengstenberg, Düsterdieck, et al.), as seems to be decidedly indicated by the passage, Rev 17:8? It cannot, however, be denied that 1 Pet. 1:19, 20, supports the former and more ancient apprehension, as does also the Johannean utterance in the Gospel of John, Rev 17:24. Both apprehensions of the passage contemplate the first, and hence the last, cause of the security of God’s people in that election which took place before the foundation of the world, and which has therefore prevailed since the foundation of the world. But as the pre-appointment of the glory of Christ was at the same time a pre-appointment of His death, and was conditioned, in its manifestation, by the foreview of His holy conduct, so the election of believers, in its manifestation, is conditioned by their faithfulness, in accordance with Rev 20:12 (κατὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτῶν). We, therefore, have to do with a mysterious synthesis of eternal personal foundation and disposition and a morally free verification [of said foundation and disposition]—neither with the one alone, in a predestinarian sense, nor with the other exclusively, in an Arminian sense. There is a decided lack of clearness in the following deliverance of Hengstenberg: “When temptation has attained its highest degree, nothing holds out against it save the eternal election based upon the atonement in Christ.” Since both explanations are, materially, equally warranted, the more obvious course is to prefer the older exposition. And what shall we gain by so doing? Those who are written in the book of the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world, are such as form a contrast, in respect of their disposition and conduct, to those who dread and shun suffering; for by a dread of suffering, the greatest genius that mankind has ever seen may lapse into subtile cowardice, and thus fall under the dominion of the world and Antichristianity. Comp. Rom. 6:3. The central point of those who are ready for suffering—the martyrs, who, precisely as such, are invincible—is formed by the Lamb, Who was mystically slain from the foundation of the world, and Who, from the very fact of His being thus slain, is the Prince of life, with Whose victory the ideal, eternal book of life is actualized.
[“These last words (ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου) are ambiguously placed. They may belong either to γέγραπται, or to ἐσφαγμένου. The former connection is taken by Hammond, Bengel, Heinr., Ewald, Züllig, De Wette, Hengst., Düsterd. But the other is far more obvious and natural: and had it not been for the apparent difficulty of the sense thus conveyed, the going back so far as to γέγραπται for a connection would never have been thought of. … The difficulty, however, is but apparent: 1 Pet. 1:19, 20, says more fully the same thing. That death of Christ which was foreordained from the foundation of the world, is said to have taken place in the counsels of Him with Whom the end and the beginning are one.” ALFORD.—The foreordination of an event is one thing, its occurrence is another. In like manner as the above, it might be said that, as the destruction of the world was foreordained from the foundation of the world, the world has been destroyed from its foundation. In the judgment of the Am. Ed., the manifest difficulty of the sense conveyed by the connection advocated by our author and Alford, together with Rev 17:8, not only justify, but require, the connection with γέγραπται.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:9, 10. If any one is for captivity [LANGE: If any one driveth a captivity], etc.—Whosoever hears this declaration with the right hearing of faith, is perfectly comforted as well as perfectly warned. In God’s world, a perfect system of retribution obtains. Just as elsewhere the depth of the suffering and the wrong-suffering of Christ is made the measure of His exaltation, so here the greatness and the manner of wrong-doing—especially in the Antichristian persecution of believers—are constituted the measure of future retributional suffering. In the form of the legal jus talionis, this is a thoroughly matter-of-fact and indefeasible vital law. So much so, that the Apostle speaks elliptically, as if he were quoting a perfectly familiar paragraph from the Law: εἴ τις εἰς αἰχμαλωσίαν, etc. DUESTERDIECK: “Volkmar regards the threat of the sword as directed against Nero.” Of course, where the Apocalyptic Seer declares a profound and general vital law, there—according to Volkmar—an uncanonical, Christian poet of the people slyly doubles up his fist against Nero.53 This reminds us of the kicking cavalry horses, Rev 9:19.
[The declaration seems to be the announcement of a general law in reference both to Saints and the ungodly. In reference to the Saints, it is a declaration that if they resist persecution with carnal weapons, they shall perish by the sword. And has not this been exemplified in the history of the Albigenses and Waldenses, and others who have taken up the sword in their own defence? In reference to the persecuting world-power, it is a declaration that though for a season it may prosper, in the end it shall be destroyed with violence. The reception of this truth, which is but one phase of the more general truth, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, saith the Lord,” Rom. 12:19, manifests the faith and gives strength for the endurance of the Saints.—E. R. C.]
Here is the endurance [LANGE: patience] etc.—Does this mean: here must the patience and faith of the saints show themselves (DE WETTE), or: “here is patience existent; here are the foundation and the source of it” (DUESTERDIECK)? The meaning may also be, however: here is the objective mark of the saints, the vital law which has become embodied in them. The suffering of wrong without doing wrong, in the assurance that the wrong-doing rebounds upon its author, in accordance with the law of retribution—this universal ordinance established by God in this world, appears principially in the cross of Christ and is continually further manifested in the endurance and faith of the saints. Thus, eschatological wisdom appears in the right understanding of the number of the Beast, Rev 13:17, and thus the wise man’s understanding of eschatological symbolism, in particular, is evident in the right understanding of the seven heads of the Beast, Rev 17:9.—Here is the source or fountain:—this would be saying too much, inasmuch as Christ is the fountain, Who, verily, has drawn His constancy from the depths of that Divine law. On the other hand, the challenge: here let the patience and faith of the saints give evidence of themselves, would be saying too little. Here, therefore, appears the idea which is realized in the life of the saints.
Rev 13:11. Another wild-beast.54—The False Prophet, according to chs. 16:13; 19:20; 20:10; Iren. v. 28, (2). According to Düsterdieck arid many who preceded him (Victorinus, Grotius, De Wette, Hengstenberg), the pagan Roman prophethood is here intended—that paltry system of augurs. “The many references to papal Rome (Cocceius, Calov., Vitringa, et al.)” are, according to Düsterdieck, precluded [by the application of Rev 13:1–8 to the Roman empire.—TR]. The Augurs, then, had hypocritically imitated the lamb-like character of Christ! [Düsterdieck denies that there is any special reference to Christ as the Lamb, whilst he admits that there may be an allusion to the idiocrasy of pseudo-prophethood as set forth in Matt. 7:15.—TR.]
Out of the earth.—Of this, various interpretations have been given, all of which regardlessly pass by the Old Testament symbolism; the Asiatic continent (Bengel and Ewald); earthliness or worldliness (Hengstenberg); as near as may be, meaningless (Düsterdieck); ἐκ τῆς γῆς signifies: out of that which “has already become firm soil” (Ebrard after Vitringa and Hofmann).
Two horns like a lamb.—We do not translate, like the lamb, since the Lamb, in the eminent sense of the term (Rev 5:6), has seven horns; the present description, however, like that unique Lamb, goes back to the phenomenon of the lamb generically considered; the Beast counterfeits the nature of the lamb. The two horns, therefore, are not to be placed in the category of a defect, in accordance with Ebrard: “the Beast (Rev 13:11) has but two horns, and is thus distinguished, as a natural sheep, confined within creaturely limits and boundaries, from that other Lamb.” According to this, he is innocent enough. But since he speaks as the Dragon, he is scarcely all right, notwithstanding his two horns. Hengstenberg’s conjectures respecting the two horns, see in Ebrard. The former commentator looks upon them as denoting the hidden might of the wisdom of this world! The lamb has his two horns simply for self-defence, and yet he speaks as the Dragon, as though he had ten horns. Are there not such lambs? See Matt. 7:15. According to Düsterdieck, the speaking like the Dragon is indicative of the crafty speech of the deceiver and seducer, Gen. 3; but the Dragon’s speech is not merely crafty, like that of the serpent, as is evident from the whole of the present chapter.
Special interpretations: Vitringa: The two horns are the two mendicant orders of friars. Hammond: Double priestly power of miracles and prophecy.
Rev 13:12. And he exerciseth.—Ποιεῖ. In magical poesy he imitates all the power of the first Beast in presence of that Beast, thus preparing the earth and the dwellers thereon to worship the first Beast, whose wound was healed. The ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ cannot mean that he has from the outset voluntarily regarded himself as the vassal of the first Beast; his subserviency to him was not originally contemplated and does but gradually result from the operations of the second Beast. His mode of action being terrestrial, must eventually devolve upon the first Beast, and finally, the second form, as a matured Beast from the earth, becomes the conscious False Prophet of the Sea-Beast.
Rev 13:13. Great signs.—Not real miracles, but ostensible, illusive wonders. The tendency is that he would even [seem to] make fire come down from the Heaven in the presence of men. That is, to the acknowledgment of spectators. Without doubt, this is an imitation of Elijah, in the sphere of the superstitious view of men. Agreeably to the conception of superstition, the fire of the Inquisition stakes fell from Heaven. A controversy between Hengstenberg and Düsterdieck on the subject of ἵνα, see in the Commentary of the latter, p. 452. Misunderstanding of the passage. It might, indeed, be said that as a true Elijah goes before the true Christ, so a pseudo-Elijah goes before the pseudo-Christ.—False applications to the Pentecostal feast and to Solomon, see noted in Düsterdieck.
[The term σημεῖα (see also Matt. 24:24; 2 Thess. 2:9) is the same that is generally employed to designate the miracles of Christ. In both the additional passages referred to, τέρατα occurs, and in the second δυνάμεις. And not only so, but the connection of ποιεῖν with σημεῖα is the form of expression commonly used by John to designate the working of miracles (see John 2:11, 23; 3:2; 4:54; 6:2, etc.). In view of these facts, together with a consideration of Deut. 13:1, 2, (where genuine σημεῖα and τέρατα seem to be referred to) and the solemn warning of our Lord, Matt. 24:24, 25, it seems, to the Am. Ed., scarce possible to avoid the conclusion that the miracles foretold are genuine. The implication of Deut. 13:1–5, seems to the writer to be that miracles alone are not evidence of Divine commission, that God may permit their being wrought for the purpose of testing His professed followers; and that the claims of one who offers miracles as a proof that he speaks by Divine inspiration, are to be further tested by the accordance of his teachings with extant Revelations. The last clause of 2 Thess. 2:9 cannot be alleged as an objection to this view, since the τέρασι ψεύδος (wonders of falsehood) may well be interpreted as τέρατα in confirmation of the ψεύδος mentioned in Rev 13:11.—E. R. C.]
And he seduceth (or misleadeth).—DUESTERDIECK: “The wonders are an actual means, (Matt. 24:24);”—as powerful lies, or lying powers, we would add.—Telling them that dwell on the earth to make an image to the wild beast.—DUESTERD.: “The images of the deified emperors. The statues of Augustus and Caligula erected to them in the character of gods.” The Seer is not speaking of an image of the first Beast in the abstract, but of the image of that Beast in his quality of having the wound by the sword and reviving. This can be only an idealized, theoretical and poetical likeness of the regenerate heathen world power—a likeness which has diffused itself in the pagan deification of power, in hero-worship, image-worship and external cultus and popular superstition—a unique image of the pre-Christian world-power in many images. The image of the Beast is, therefore, the re-appearance of heathenism, or the heathen world-power, in the Christian world; and it is the False Prophet who causes the erection of this Image. Ay, he even knows how to communicate a sort of apparent life to the image of the first Beast.
Rev 13:15. And it was given to him to give a spirit, etc.—A kind of spirit suitable to the kind of image; an appearance of unitous spirit-life, for modern heathenism as the image of ancient heathenism. It is impossible by this to understand the cultivation of humanism—practised by later Byzantinism and the Romanism of the Fifteenth century,—as the acme of the civilization of ancient heathenism. The image of the heathen world-power is spoken of—the reflection of that world-power, in copy, within Christendom. The fundamental features of this image are: abstract authority, corresponding with abstract superstitious democratism—the design being abstract uniformity. At first, the second Beast claimed all this for himself, but, in accordance with the nature of the case, he was all the time playing into the hands of the first Beast, and has now, in the last eschatological time, entirely gone over to the service of the latter. The medium by which life is counterfeited in the image is the power to speak. “Rev 13:15 must not be apprehended as significant of a ‘spiritual speaking’ of pagan images of gods (in opposition to Hengstenberg, who remarks that the heathen, in his image of a god, objectified his own intuitions [Anschauungen], and that with a liveliness which attested itself in the allegations of actual speech on the part of those images); this trait of the description rather contains a suggestion of what is reported concerning divine images which are said really to speak (comp. Grotius, Ewald II.; the latter also refers to the deception of the people by means of talking images of the Virgin); and John seems to take for granted the reality of such demonic wonders” (DUESTERDIECK). Disregard of the symbolicalness of the expression leads to such an assumption as the above, which virtually charges John with superstition. The image of the Beast can really speak. But as the image itself is a fundamentally false, new-heathenish, romantic system, so its speaking is the art of the fundamentally false and dazzling phraseology which is in the service of that system.
And cause that as many as should not worship the image of the wild-beast should be slain.—We understand this slaying in an eschatological sense, and regard it as signifying social annihilation—privation of oral, legal, social [in the more restricted sense of the term] life [=influence, efficiency]. The analogies discoverable in the heathen mode of procedure against Christianity (DUESTERD., p. 453—letter of Pliny to Trajan: worship of the imperial image ), consisting in the infliction of capital punishment, may have served as the starting-point of the text. The first great type of the uniformity-image was the tower of Babel. The first image which men were commanded, on pain of death, to worship, was the symbol of the first heathen world-power—the golden image of King Nebuchadnezzar, at Babylon (Dan. 3).
Rev 13:16, 17. And he maketh all.—The False Prophet operates upon all. This fact of his universal operation is emphatically set forth by a threefold antithesis: the small and the great, etc. The end for this universal company upon which the False Prophet has been working, is the Antichristian symbolism; they assume the mark of appertinency to the Beast (Rev 14:9, 11; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4). The terrible earnestness and decisiveness of this self-assignment of men to the Beast, and the distinctness with which the Seer foresees this formation of a perverted congregation of Antichristian confessors, are evident from his frequent recurrence to this fatal symbolum. We cannot perceive why Düsterdieck should regard the view of Grotius and others, who maintain that this idea is reminiscent of the heathen custom of stigmatizing slaves and soldiers, and thus signalizing their appertinency to their masters, as at variance with Hengstenberg’s view, that the χάραγμα will be a species of confession. The exclusive operation of the token is expressly brought out. Here, also, it is perfectly obvious that the Seer did not intend that his words should be taken literally. For it is impossible to overlook the fact that both the forehead and the hand have a symbolical significance in the Scriptures. The frontlet of the high priest, with its inscription; the expression: forehead against forehead, Ezek. 3:8, 9; and similar passages afford sufficient evidence that the mark on the forehead imports a confession; whilst the mark on the hand is no less expressive of a practical tendency. See SYNOP. VIEW. Consummate effrontery and consummate mutinousness—by these attributes, the members of this Church of the Beast shall recognize each other, and accordingly consign to social death those who are unmarked, not simply excommunicating them, but also civilly outlawing them. A fanatical Protestant interpretation of the χάραγμα by Cocc, see in Düsterd., p. 454.
Rev 13:18. Here is wisdom.—The wisdom of God, like the wisdom of men, relates to the ends and aims of life. Hence Christianity, towards the end of the world, is more and more a vocation to wisdom, to the trying of spirits, especially to the recognition of the signs of the Antichristian spirit. Herein wisdom must show itself (see SYNOP. VIEW). Wisdom, however, is to be learned in learning to calculate the number of the Beast. That this can be no problematical, chiliastic reckoning, in the true sense of that term, we may rest assured, by reason of the origin of the recommendation [“Let him that hath understanding,” etc.] with the Spirit of prophecy.
Various explanations of the number 666:
1. According to Hofmann (Schriftbeweis, ii. 2, p. 702), John himself was ignorant of the reference of the number to a determinate personality, having merely seen and written the number (similarly Luthardt, Die Offenb. Joh., p. 53). In reality, however, Hofmann pledges himself to the following solution: It will be the Greek enemy of the Old Testament Church of God, who will return to this earthly life in order to the destruction of the New Testament Church.
2. The difficult solution of the puzzle will be found in the future (Iren., Andr., et al.).—With Nos. 1 and 2, No. 3 is connected, which is as follows:
3. The number denotes a distinct human individual (Bede, Grotius, et al.).
4. The expression, ἀριθμὸς γὰρ ἀνθρώπου, denotes that the interpretation of the letters is to be determined in accordance with their conventional numeric value (which must be translated back into letters); the number must be referred, agreeably to ordinary human custom, to a name (Wetstein, De Wette, Hengstenberg, Düsterdieck, et al.). “That this is no easy operation is manifest from the history of the interpretation of this passage, which exhibits (comp. Wolf, Curæ; Heinrichs, Excurs. 6.; Züllig, Excurs. 2.) hundreds of attempts at a solution of the problem, etc.” (Düsterdieck).
5. Interpretations looking off from the personal reference; amongst these, that of Bengel—666 years—is specially worthy of notice (Düsterdieck, p. 457).
Vitringa and Hengstenberg refer the number to the Hebrew name Adonikam (the Lord ariseth), because the Adonikam mentioned in Ezra 2:13 had 666 sons. Hengstenb. gives a better alternate interpretation, in accordance with which the number 666, as a world-number, falls short of the Divine number Seven. In this sense, Luthardt contrasts the number 666 with 888, the number appearing in the Sibylline books as the number of the name of Jesus. By the employment of the Greek, the Hebrew and the Latin alphabet, the most diverse names have been arrived at (Nero, Diocletian, Luther, Calvin, names of Popes, the Jesuits, Napoleon, Balaam, Cæsar, Rome, etc., see Düsterdieck, p. 459. A quantity of chiliastic computations of time and other definitions, see noted in Ebrard, pp. 391, 392; De Wette, p. 139 sqq.). Calov., Eichhorn, De Wette, Ebrard, Düsterd., and others, have, after Irenæus, declared themselves in favor of the name λατεῖνος. And thus, according to them, the great mystery amounts, after all, only to such a generality as the Roman world-kingdom.55
[ADDITIONAL NOTE ON THE SECTION]
By the American Editor
[For reasons given in the preceding Add. Note (pp. 250 sq.), the writer regards the entire scene described in Rev 12, as having its consummate fulfillment in events under the seventh Trumpet—the blowing of which is yet future. In continuance, he would remark that to him it seems scarcely possible that (according to Lord) the flight of the Woman mentioned in Rev 13:6, should be different from that of Rev 13:14. He supposes that after the mention of the flight in Rev 13:6, an account of the Dragon is given, which in Rev 13:14 reaches the same incident. In Rev 13:15, 16 are foretold Satan’s attempt, immediately following the flight, to destroy, and its frustration; Rev 13:17 declares his subsequent purposes of destruction; and in Rev 13 are described the instrumentalities by which he endeavors to accomplish these purposes.
The position here taken, that the visions of this section have immediate respect to events still future, in which they are to be consummately fulfilled, is not inconsistent with the further idea that they may have already had a typical fulfillment. The course of history is often a foreshadowing, through long ages, of that in which it is to be consummated; and, in such case, a prophecy which has immediate respect to that consummation, will have a secondary (though previously fulfilled) relation to the foreshadowing events. Many of those prophecies which had an immediate respect to the Messiah, found a typical fulfillment in Israel. The many coincidences brought to view by Elliott and others, forbid the thought that in this section there is no reference to the Church of Rome; but, on the other hand, the circumstances of the vision, together with the manifest fact that the fulfillment claimed in the past is to so great an extent shadowy and incomplete, compel the conclusion that the consummate fulfillment is yet future.
The Beasts and the Image (Rev 13)
The writer adopts the opinion that the first Beast symbolizes the world-power, or rather that portion of the world-power within whose domain the Church has had existence, and is substantially (i. e., as to the object symbolized) identical with the statue of Dan. 2, the Beasts of Dan. 7, and the scarlet colored Beast of Rev 17; the heads representing the seven universal56 Sovereignties that have exercised temporal authority over the Church, viz.: (1) the Egyptian, (2) the Palestinian, or the Assyrian, (3) the Babylonian, (4) the Medo-Persian, (5) the Grecian (the five fallen heads, Rev 17:10), (6) the Roman (the one existing at the date of the Apocalypse), and (7) one that is yet to arise.57
By the wounding the writer understands, not only with Auberlen the nominal conversion of one of the heads, but also its ceasing to be as a universal Sovereignty; and by this wounded head he understands, not the seventh, as does Auberlen, but the sixth or Roman. They are notorious facts of history, (1) that the Roman head was converted (at least nominally) in the person of Constantine, and (2) that shortly after the period of Constantine the one Roman sovereignty ceased to exist. The imperial power was divided amongst the sons of Constantine, and though again united, it was again divided, and finally in the death of Theodosius it ceased to exist as a unit—and from that day to the present there has been no universal government within the area of Christendom. The Empire established in Charlemagne cannot be regarded either as the continuance of the sixth head, or as the seventh, since it never extended over the field of the Eastern Churches, and indeed not entirely over that of the Western. If the seventh head is in its universality analogous to that of the six that preceded it, we must look for it in the future.
It is with extreme hesitation that the Am. Ed. ventures to write any thing concerning prophecy as yet unfulfilled. He dares not dogmatize, and he scarcely ventures to suggest what he regards as the possible outline of the future as portrayed in Apocalyptic symbols.
Did Rev 13 stand alone, the probable interpretation would be that the Beast is to arise from the sea of the nations with the seventh head not only fully developed, but analogous in form to those that preceded it, i. e., under one fully established and visible imperial government, the ten horns indicating ten subordinate kingdoms. A comparison, however, of this chapter with Dan. 7 and Rev 17 suggests a different hypothesis. May it not be that in the first arising of the Beast the head is to be found in a confederation of the ten horns or kings (themselves wearing the diadems), which confederation is to be subsequently developed into an empire? May it not be that the Image, Rev 13:14, 15, is the Little Horn of Dan. 7:8, 24, 25, before whom three of the original horns are to be plucked up, and who is to attain to supremacy over the others—the eighth head of Rev 17:11, who is of the seven—in whom the Beast is to be finally and completely “headed up,” and who is the personal Antichrist, the Man of Sin and Son of Perdition. On this hypothesis the second Beast (Rev 13:11–14), the False Prophet (Rev 19:20) may represent a class of teachers (perchance an apostate ministry of Christ [comp. Matt. 7:15]. possibly to be consummated in an individual) under whose influence he shall arise, and be anointed and supported, who shall develop into the seventh complete head.
Of the prophecy as interpreted above, we have had a typical fulfillment in the history of the Western Empire. Although wounded unto death, the beastly nature of the world-power has continued throughout the ages. In the West we find the temporal power continued in ten kingdoms, which, under the instigation of the great adversary, might be regarded as confederate in the oppression of the true body of Christ. Under the influence of the Romish priesthood, the Pope—an image of the old Roman emperors—arose; before him three of the original horns were plucked up, and in process of time he attained to a real supremacy over the whole of Western Christendom (see Abstract of Elliott, p. 259). This Image of the old Roman Empire is now, it is true, shorn of his temporal, and in great measure of his spiritual, supremacy; but, in conclusion, it may be asked if it be not possible that he, under the influence and support of an apostate ministry, may yet develop into the seventh and consummate head of the Beast (the eighth head of Rev 17:11).
As to the number of the Beast, the writer agrees with Alford (see p. 262). As to the 1260 days, it may be remarked that in the typical fulfillment of the prophecy it may indicate a period of years—in the consummate fulfillment a period of days, or weeks, or months, or years. Properly the symbol indicates 1260 periods of time; what those minor periods are, can be determined only by the event, or at least in the period of fulfillment.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:1. According to א. A.B*.C. [P.], etc., the κέρατα are mentioned first; and indeed they are more striking here than the heads; the natural sequence, preferred by the Rec., would here be inappropriate.
Rev 13:1. The plural ὀνόματα is given by [א.], A. B*., and many others. Düsterdieck regards it as interpretative, but it might also be supposed—one Beast, one name. Treg. and Tischendorf give the plural; Alford gives ὄνομα with C. P.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:3. Inserted for the sake of clearness. It is omitted by Crit. Eds. with א. A. B*. C. P. 1, Am., Tol.; it occurs in Vulg. Cl. Doubtless the μίαν is governed by the εἶδον of Rev 13:2; the Seer beheld the Wild-beast ascending with a wounded head. Rev 13:2 is, in a sense, parenthetical and subsidiary to Rev 13:1.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:3. The marginal reading of the E. V. (first-class, marked †) is here adopted. See section on Marginal Readings in the Special Introduction, by the Am. Ed.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:4. [The Am. Ed. leaves unaltered the pointing of Rev 13:3 and 4, in the E. V. On this subject critical editors are widely at variance. That pointing which, in his judgment, will most correctly present the entire passage, is as follows: And one from among his heads as if slain to death. And the wound of his death was healed; and the whole earth wondered after the wild-beast, and they worshipped the dragon because he gave the authority unto the wild-beast, and they worshipped the wild-beast, saying, etc.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:5. We give the plural in acc. with the Rec., א. C. Opposed to this we find the singular, and the reading βλάσφημα. [Treg. and Tisch. (8th ed.)as Lange, which reading is adopted above; Gb. and Tisch. (1859), give βλασφημίαν with B*. P.; Lach. and Alford, βλάσφημα with A.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:5. [For this translation of ποιῆσαι, see Robinson sub voce 2. (b). Lange translates schalten.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:6. [Crit. Eds. read εἰς βλασφημίας with א. A. C. The singular is given by B*. P.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:6. [Lach., Alford, Treg., Tisch. (8th ed.) omit καί with א1 A. B*2. C.; Lange and Tisch. (1859) retain (as above) with אc. B*. P., Vulg.—E. R. C.].
Rev 13:7. The first half of this verse is omitted in A. C. [P.], etc., and is discarded by Lach. Codd. א. B. and versions [Vulg., Cop., Æth.] give it. The omission is to be explained by the repetition καὶ ἐδόθη. [Alford, Treg., Tisch. retain. Against such authorities the Am. Ed. dares not remove the sentence from the text, although he regards the internal evidence as favoring the judgment of Lachmann.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:7. [Crit. Eds. insert λαόν with א. A. B*. C. P.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:8. The reading αὐτόν in acc. with A. B*. C., etc.
Rev 13:8. Several unimportant variations here. Tisch. [Alford, Treg.] gives οὗ οὐ γέγραπται τὸ ὄνομα κ. τ. λ. [Some Eds. give τὰ ὀνόματα with א. P.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:8. [It is doubtful from the text whether or not a comma should here be introduced. Lange omits. For a presentation of his views and those of other commentators, see under EXP. IN DETAIL, pp. 268 sq.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:10. For various readings, see Tisch. and Düsterd. [Lach. (ed. maj.), Alford, Tisch., with A., give εἴ τις εἰς αἰχμαλωσίαν, εἰς αἰχμαλωσίαν ὑπάγε; Treg., with א. B*. C., gives εἰς αἰχμαλωσίαν only once; Lange seems to adopt the reading of the Rec.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:10. [Treg. and Tisch. give ἀποκτενεῖ δεῖ with B*. C. P.; Alford reads ἀποκτανθῆναι with A.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:12. Καὶ ποιεῖ, א. A. C. [P.], Lach. [So Alf., Treg., Tisch. (8th ed.). Tisch. (1859), καὶ ἐποιεῖ with B*.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:13.[WINER writes, § 53, “In the defective diction of the Apocalypse, ἵνα is apparently used once, 13:13, for ὥστε or ὡς, after an adjective including the notion of intensity: magna miracula, i. e., tam magna, ut, etc.” The Am. Ed. must express his dissatisfaction with this unprecedented, though generally accepted, translation—the more especially, as, in his judgment, the ordinary force of the particle gives a good sense.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:14. The striking reading ὅς in A. B*. C. [P.], is probably based upon an exegetical interpretation of the Beast. [א. 1, etc., give ὅ. The reading ὅς, which Alford, Treg., Tisch. adopt, is clearly to be preferred.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:15. [The Marg. Read. (†) of the E. V. is breath. This meaning is altogether unprecedented in the New Testament.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:15. Lachmann, in acc. with A. [P. 7, Vulg. Cl. and Fuld.], reads ἵνα before ὅσοι. [This reading is also given by Treg.; Alford brackets: Tisch. and Lange omit with א. C., Am., etc. The Am. Ed. has not felt at liberty to alter the generally accepted reading, although he is inclined to adopt the opinion of Lach. and Treg. If the ἵνα be genuine, the translation will be, “the image of the wild-beast should both speak and act, in order that as many as,” etc.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:15. [Lach., Tisch. (1859), Alford, Treg. read προσκυνήσωσιν, with A. B*. P.; Tisch. (8th ed.), -ουσιν with א.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:16. [Crit. Eds. give δῶσιν with א*. A. B*. C. P.; 1 reads δῶσει; 7, δωσῶσιν; 26, 95, λαβῶσιν.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:17. Lachmann, in acc. with C., omits the καί without sufficient reason. [Tisch. (8th ed.) omits with א*. C. 6, Tol., etc.; Tisch. (1859), Treg. give it with אc. A. B*. P., Vulg. (except Tol.), etc.; Alford brackets.—E. R. C.]
Rev 13:18. [Tisch., Treg. read χξςτ with B*. 1, 6, etc. (Tischendorf’s Ed. of B*. gives χξςτ); Alford, ἑξακόσιοι ἑξήκοντα ἕξ with A. Cod. א., instead of the ἑξακόσιοι of A., reads -ιαι; and P. 7, -ια. Cod. C. gives ἑξηκόσια δέκα ἕξ.—E. R. C.]
Christians as emigrants to Bohemia, Poland, Germany, Prussia, America—a long story, See Matt. 10:23.
In connection with the general fulfillment of this prophecy, reference may be made to the slaughter of the Huns, the victory of Charles Martel, and, in general, to the triumphs of Christendom in the East and West over Mohammedanism.
The verb [ψηφίζειν] means not merely to reckon, but also to judge (pass sentence), decide, adjudge. We have already rejected the unsymbolical, though usual, hypothesis of an ordinary number. Such an hypothesis fails to recognize the symbolical character of the Apocalypse. It is an impossibility that the Seer should have regarded it as a mark of Christian wisdom, and that in an extraordinary degree, either to propose or to decipher such a numeric puzzle. In Rev 17:9 likewise, wisdom will approve itself, not in refinements of calculation, but in a religious-moral judgment, aided by a reference to Old Testament symbolism.
[The translation of Lange is: “Wean jemand eine Gefangenschaft betreibt, der treibt sich in die Gefangenschafi hinein. Wenn jemand mit dem Schwert tödten will, der muss selber (schon) mit dem Schwert getödtet sein;” which may thus be rendered: “If any one driveth a captivity, he driveth himself into captivity. If any one will kill with the sword, he must himself (his very self) be killed with the sword.”—E. R. C.]
Here we have a striking Johannean trait. Not one in the circle of the disciples of Jesus penetrated so early and so deeply the demonic inclination to treason as John. And thus, doubtless, Judas became for him the type of the False Prophet. The way in which he several times strikes upon the idea of making fire fall from Heaven, is likewise characteristic of the Son of Thunder.
[See Add. Comment on Rev 13:13, p. 270.—E. R. C.]
“First, to him (Theodosius), alone of Roman Emperors from Constantine to Charlemagne, the title has attached—deservedly attached, to use Gibbon’s expression—of ‘THEODOSIUS THE GREAT.’ Next it was his lot, alone of Roman Emperors after its bipartition by Valentinian, to unite the two divisions of the Empire, the Eastern and the Western, which now, let it be noted, in the very coinage of the Empire seemed to be figured as wings, under his own sway. Further, it was pre-eminently his character to use all this, his imperial power, success and greatness, as a protector and nursing father to the orthodox Church of Christ. As Gibbon says, ‘Every victory of his contributed to the triumph of the Christian and catholic faith.’ Indeed, not the professing orthodox Church alone (contradistinctively to the Arian) might claim Theodosius as a friend and protector; but Christ’s true Church also, included in the former. For none, I think, can read his history without the impression of his real personal piety. See his character as sketched by Milner.”—ELLIOTT, Vol. III., pp. 55 sq.
[The patent objection to this exposition is, that it is difficult to conceive how the influence of Theodosius could have assisted the flight of the Church into the wilderness as that symbol is explained by Elliott; it would seem as though his influence must rather have tended to an escape from it.—E. R. C.]
“His (the Angel’s) meaning in this (17:11) is easily seen, in so far as the symbol itself is concerned, by reference to the statement … of Rev 13:3; that one of his heads appeared to have been wounded to death by a sword, but that his. deadly wound was healed. For a fresh head had evidently sprouted up in place of the preceding one cut down—a new seventh in place of the old seventh; so that the last head visible on the Beast, though visibly the seventh, was, in point of chronological succession, the eighth. It was thus, indeed, that the Beast, under its new and last head, became what the Angel called it, ‘The Beast that was, and is not, and yet is’ (καὶ παρέσται=and shall be present), Rev 7:8; it having by that deadly wound been annihilated in its immediately preceding draconic form; and through the fresh-sprouted head, revived in its new or ten-horned bestial form. I said the next preceding draconic form, because it is stated, that the Dragon yielded to it (the Beast), on its emergence from the sea, ‘his power and his throne and great authority.’ So that the transition from the draconic state of Rome and its empire to the ten-horned bestial was direct, and without any other form or head intervening, according to the Apocalyptic representation.” ELLIOTT, vol. iii., p. 115.—E. R. C.]
[Elliott calls attention to the fact, that although the title of the sovereign remained the same, the nature of his office was entirely changed after Diocletian. He writes: “On turning to Gibbon .… and glancing at the Index of Contents, ch.13, … both the fact and the symbol that we seek arrest the eye connectedly, even as if placed there for the very purpose of illustrating the Apocalyptic enigma: ‘Diocletian assumes the diadem, and introduces the Persian ceremonial. New form of administration.’—The notice thus summarily given is explained and enlarged on in the history (Rev 13). The transition of the Roman Empire from its imperial or sixth head, introduced by Augustus, to a new and seventh introduced by Diocletian, is thus distinctly declared: ‘Like Augustus, Diocletian, may be considered as the founder of a new empire,’ and the change is then illustrated somewhat fully, as affecting alike the official dignity of the Prince governing, and the constitution and administration of the Empire governed.”—E. R. C.]
[As to the fitness of the symbol (εἴκων), Elliott writes: “The figure has been applied to the chief exemplifications that history offers of national representation by deputies. So e. g. of the British Parliament. Says Burke: ‘The virtue, spirit and essence of a House of Commons consists in its being the express image of the feelings of a nation,’ ” etc.—E. R. C.]
[Elliott at this point (vol. iii., p. 260 sqq.) presents an elaborate argument, of which the following is an abstract, against the Day-Day, and in favor of what he styles
THE YEAR-DAY PRINCIPLE
I. The presumptive à priori evidence.
1. From the nature of prophetic symbols. The Apocalyptic prophecies, to which the controversy relates, are confessedly symbolic prophecies (save that of the Two Witnesses, which some contend to be literal). In such prophecies (which are pictures in miniature), it is reasonable to expect that a proportion of scale will be observed between the symbol and the thing symbolized, in time as well as in other respects.
2. From God’s declared purpose of making the near approach of the consummation evident at the time of its approaching; yet, till then, so hidden as to allow of Christians always expecting it. This seems to require that, when prophesying concerning times, a chronological cypher should have been employed.
3. From the probability that this cypher would be a day for a year. We find similar cyphers employed Dan. 9:24–27 (Elliott contends that שבוצ, there meaning hebdomad, when by itself, always means a week—seven days); Ezek. 4:1–6: Analogies, Num. 14:34; Lev. 25:2–4.
II. The direct evidence.
This arises from the fact, that the periods of so many prophecies interpreted on the Year-day principle have proved correct. He refers to his interpretations of the periods of the Saracenic woe, p. 201; the Turkish woe, p. 201; the Witnesses, p. 228; the Woman travailing in birth, p. 240, and sojourning in the Wilderness, p. 260; the ten-horned Beast’s time of prospering, p. 260.
III. Objections. (Only the more prominent will be mentioned.)
1. The alleged novelty of the principle as one unknown in the Church from the days of Daniel to those of Wickliffe. Answer: The fact is not as alleged. From the days of Cyprian, this principle in reference to some prophecies has been adopted.
2. The alleged discrepancies and unsatisfactoriness of Apocalyptic expositions based on this principle. Answer: Wrong applications of a principle, resulting in discrepancies, do not militate against the principle itself, if it be supported (as this is, see under II.) by manifest coincidences.
3. The alleged necessary participation of all in communion with the Church of Rome throughout twelve hundred and sixty years (many of whom we have reason to believe were true Christians) in the curse and perdition of Babylon as set forth Rev 14:9–11. Answer: The chronological position of the warning which contains the threatening of woe is at the very end of the period of twelve hundred and sixty years, after the fall of Babylon (14:8), and therefore after the call of Rev 18:4.—E. R. C.]
[“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.” BARNES. (This was written A. D. 1851.)—E. R. C.]
Barnes finds the fulfillment of this Symbol in the reestablishment of the Roman Empire under Charlemagne. He quotes the following from Gibbon, Rev 49: “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 honor and safety, the government of the city,” To this he adds the following remark: “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,.….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. He also subjoins the coronation oath of the Emperor from Sigonius: “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.”—E. R. C.]
[Stuart devotes a long Excursus to the establishment of this opinion. He writes: “I do not say that John meant to convey the impression that Nero would actually revive, and reappear on the stage of action; for this I do not believe. But thus much I am compelled to believe, … that John here recognizes, and intends that others should recognize, Nero, by pointing to an individual respecting whom reports were everywhere current, such as have been exhibited above.”—E. R. C.]
[Lord’s EXPOSITION was published in 1847.—E. R. C.]
[Glasgow recognizes in the Ζῶα “The official and representative ministrant agencies commissioned by the Lord Jesus; and comprehensively all His people, when actively serving Him for the good of man.” According to him, the Lion symbolizes “that like Judah of old will be the Christian people of the Gospel age, rising paramount to and subduing all the nations of the earth; the Ox, the ministers and people of Jesus” as (1) “sufferers of persecution,” (2) abounding in “works of faith and labors of love;” the Face of a Man, the “people of God as bearing the image of Christ”—especially ministers; the Flying Eagle, “three great facts realized in the agencies employed by Jesus in His Church: (1) the means and power given them of escaping from the rage of their persecuting enemies; (2) their movement to distant places in bearing the gospel message; (3) their study of the prophecies, and their having ‘their life hid with Christ,’ the Rock of Ages.”—E. R. C.]
[Glasgow remarks: “It is worthy of being noted that there is in all these, as in prophetic dates generally, a margin of three or four, sometimes as many as seven, years, within which limit an event may be reckoned some few years earlier or later.” (He might also have called attention to the fact that some prophecies have a double—an initial and consummate—objective, and consequently will have a twofold beginning and ending.) He brings together some even a that have for their period 1260 years, as follows:
[A. D. 67+1260=1327, from the Woman’s flight under Nero, until the setting up of a rival Pope by Louis of Bavaria, which gave a measure of relief—synchronous with the birth of Wickliffe, and the rise of Marsilius of Padua.
[A. D. 254+1260=1514, from the usurpation exercised by Cornelius, Bishop of Rome, to the death of the Witnesses (see p. 229).
[A. D. 292+1260=1552, from the beginning of the Galerian persecution to the Peace of Passau and the establishment of Protestant freedom.
[A. D. 311+1260=1571, from the election of Cœcilianus as Bishop of Carthage leading to the Erastian interference of the Emperor, to the granting of liberty of conscience to Protestants in France, and the Pope’s excommunication of the Protestant Sovereign of England.
[A. D. 529+1260=1789, from the institution of the Benedictine Monks, and the publication of Justinian’s code, to the beginning of the French Revolution.
[A. D. 607+1260=1867 (8), from the decree of Phocas, to the Spanish Revolution, which brought down the last of the ten horns.—E. R. C.]
“St. John beholds ‘one of the Beast’s heads, as it were slain unto death, and the wound of his death was healed’ (13:3, 12, 14). This deadly wound of one of the world-kingdoms reminds us of what Daniel saw (Dan. 7:4) with regard to the King of Babylon: ‘I beheld till the wings thereof (of the lion) were plucked, and the King received the upright posture and the heart of a man.’ We know that hereby the humiliation of Nebuchadnezzar’s high-soaring haughtiness is indicated, and his sub-equent con ersion to the living God. A similar change passes over one of the Apocalyptic heads of the Beast. It is not changed into a human head, but it receives a wound to death, and is thus rendered innocuous. The Kingdom of this world, for which this head stands, does not truly turn to the living God, so that its beast-nature is changed into a human one, as was the case with Nebuchadnezzar; but it does not develope its beast-like, brutal, God opposed character, so fully as the six others; for a time it divests itself of its anti-Christian character. It appears ὡς ἐσφαγμένον, as if slain; and the remark has been justly made, that this expression is chosen purposely, in order to point out an outward resemblance between the Beast and the Lamb, which John beholds (Rev 5:6), likewise ὡς ἐσφαγμένον. The second Beast was like the Lamb, because it had two horns like a lamb (13:11); the first is like the Lamb in having a deadly wound. Hence we must not expect, even of the Beast, of the world power itself, that its development to the end will be in an exclusively heathenish form; it is to be Christianized externally; nay, for a time, it will appear to be altogether dead, and to have passed out of existence; and yet it will be in existence, and not have ceased to be Beast.” AUBERLEN, p. 297.—E. R. C.]
[“The deadly wound is thus healed: The Beast which received it recovers life and returns, but now not only from the sea, but out of the Abyss, whence it drew new Anti-christian strength of Hell (13:3, 12, 14; 17:8; 11:7). The Lord Jesus has expressed the same progression (Matt. 12:43–45). The Christian Germanic world apostatizes from Christianity; the old, God-opposed, and anti-Christian beast-nature asserts itself with new power and gains the ascendancy; a new heathenism breaks in upon the Christian world. A heathenism which is worse, more demonic, more of the nature of the bottomless pit, thau the ancient one, for it, as represented by the first heads of the Beast, was only an apostasy from the general revelation of God in nature and conscience (Rom. 1 and 2:14), whereas this heathenism is an apostasy from the full revelation of Divine love in the Son (comp. Matt. 11:41, 42); it is refined, intensified heathenism, to which the words shall be addressed: ‘Remember from whence thou art fallen!’ (Rev 2:5). This prophecy is not confined to the Revelation; it is the same apostasy (ἀποστασία) of which St. Paul speaks in 2 Thess. 2:3, and which he sees culminate in Antichrist, the Man of Sin, the son of perdition. And in describing the evil times of the last days (2 Tim. 3:1 sqq.), the Apostle delineates the character of the men who shall live then, in a manner which reminds us of his characteristics of the heathens (Rom. 1:29); thus he foresaw a new heathenism within Christendom. For it is evident that he speaks of Christendom.; his expressions—apostasy, 2 Thess. 2:3; some shall depart from the faith, 1 Tim. 4:1 (comp. 2 Tim. 3:5; 4:3, etc.—plainly show it. What is peculiar to the Apocalypse is the clear juxtaposition of the Harlot and the returning Beast. The Lord Jesus (Matt. 24:4, 5,11, 23–26) and the Apostles speak of false doctrine, seduction, apostasy, more in general terms, whereas the Apocalypse distinguishes between two kinds of apostasies, Jewish and heathenish, of the Church and of the world; the pseudo-Christianity of the Harlot, and the anti-Christianity of the returning Beast. The latter is the world divested of all Christianity; the former, the world, adopting Christianity, or Christianity adapting itself to the world.” AUBERLEN, pp. 300 sq.—E. R. C.]
“It cannot be proved with absolute certainty that a personal Antichrist will stand at the head of the Antichristian Kingdom, for it is possible that the eighth, like the preceding seven heads, designates a kingdom, a power, and not a person, and the same may be said concerning the Antichristian horn described by Daniel, when compared with the ten horns. But the type of Antiochus Epiphanes is of decisive importance, for this personal enemy of God’s Kingdom is described in the eighth chapter of Daniel, as a little, gradually increasing horn, just as Antichrist is spoken of in the seventh. And this is corroborated by the Apostle Paul (2 Thess. 2), who describes Antichrist (Rev 13:4) with colors evidently furnished by Daniel’s sketch of Antiochus, and who calls him, moreover, the Man of sin, the Son of perdition, which, if explained naturally, must refer to an individual (comp. John 17:12, where the same expression. ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας, is used of Judas). In favor of the same view may be adduced, likewise analogies in the history of the world; the previous world-kingdoms had extraordinary persons as their heads, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander the Great. The spiritual and universal character does not exclude individual personal representatives. Every spiritual tendency has its distinguished representatives, and when it has reached its perfection, produces its representative κατ’ ἐξοχήν. Hence Anti-Christian tendencies produce different Antichrists; and it is a sober historical view, when Christianity maintains that these separate Antichrists shall, some future day, find their consummation in an individual, far excelling them in the intensity of his evil character (Lange l. c. 374).” AUBERLEN, pp. 304 sq.—E. R. C.]
[According to Auberlen the healing of the first Beast and the exercise of the special power of the second, set forth in Rev 13:12, have already begun. He writes: “The return of the Beast is represented, or at least prepared in that principle, which, since A. D. 1789, has manifested itself in beast-like outbreaks, and has since then been developed both extensively and intensively. This principle has appeared in various forms, in the Revolution; in Napoleon, despotism sanctioning revolution, proving, at the same time, that the Beast, even in this shape, can carry the Harlot; in Socialism and Communism. But we may yet expect other manifestations.”—“It will not be denied by any one who views the events of the two last centuries with enlightened eyes, that also the prediction of the false prophecy has begun to be fulfilled. Unconverted Paganism passed over by degrees into the Church during the first centuries, and this mixing of Christian and Pagan elements produced Roman Catholicism. Then came the Reformation, dissolving this illegitimate union, and restoring pure Christianity; and hence, it was natural, that in the succeeding centuries, Heathenism should likewise appear more naked, undisguised, and decided, and should attack Christianity again, but at first only with spiritual weapons. The Antichristian element, which before was under a Christian guise, now came forward with increasing openness, and manifested itself as the false prophecy, as false doctrine, as the spiritual power of seducing ideas, which are based on a view of the world, radically false and opposed to God, but which spread and eat as a canker, under the name of philosophy, enlightenment, and civilization (2 Tim. 2:17). It is a fact, that the Beast’s coming to life again, and its new power, whereof we spoke above, is called forth, accompanied and strengthened by the influence of the False Prophet exactly as it is described in Rev. 13:12 sqq. It is evident and palpable, that the philosophic principle of the autonomy of the human spirit, and the corresponding theological principle of Rationalism, that Idealism and Materialism, Deism, Pantheism, and Atheism, are all the products of the same spirit, the essence of which is apostasy from the fundamental principles of Christianity, alienation from the living and holy God, deification of the creaturely, is exactly what is meant in the Apocalypse by worshipping the Beast. Indeed, even in a literal sense, in the present day, ‘bestiality is the ideal of thinkers.’ But even where this extreme point has not yet been reached, the False Prophet is powerful enough. What is bringing thousands from Christianity, and preventing others from coming to a belief in a full and true Christianity, is nothing else but respect for these intellectual powers which rule in these days, for modern Science and Culture.” (These quotations have been made from the Edinburgh Trans. of the first edition of Auberlen, pp. 304, 311 sq.)—E. R. C.]
[In accordance with his view that this vision relates to that which is still future (see ADD. NOTE, pp. 250 sq.), the Am. Ed. regards this definite symbol (the two wings of the great eagle) as having reference to an object that cannot now be identified. For his views concerning the wilderness, see concluding paragraph on p. 251.—E. R. C.]
[By the remnant the Am. Ed. understands those left on earth, subject to the assaults of the Dragon and his instruments, after the removal of the ἀπσρχή (see p. 251 and foot-note.—E. R. C.]
See the ADD. NOTE, pp. 272sq.—E. R. C.]
Züllig regards the eight kings as Edomitish princes.
[Lange seems here to misapprehend Auberlen. It is to the wounded head that the latter ascribes an apparent Christian life; the wounding consists in the partial destruction of the beastly nature. See Abstracts of Auberien. p. 263sq.—E. R. C.]
[The German word (bewundern) includes the idea of admiration.—TR.]
[Da macht nach Volkmar ein unkanonischer christlicher Volksdichter gegen den Nero eine Faust in der Tasche.]
[See the ADD. NOTE, p. 272 sq.—E. R. C.]
[See also the application of the number, on the part of the Swedish theologian Petrelli, to Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, as discussed by me in No. 39 of the Deutsche Zeitschrift für christl. Wissenchaft, 1859.]
[Universal, i. e., in reference to what may be styled the area of the Church. No human government, since that of Noah, has been universal, in the more extensive sense of that term.—E. R. C.]
[Daniel presents only the Sovereignties that were to bear rule in and after his day—his fifth power being presented in the feet of the Statue (Rev 2:33, 41–43), and in the ten horns and little horn of the fourth Beast (Rev 5:1, 7, 8, 20, 24, 25). The view of John sweeps over the entire period of the Church’s history, and embraces the two persecuting powers that had preceded Daniel. Glasgow, in his identification of the heads (see foot-note, p. 242), mentions the Palestinian as the second, and the Assyrian as the third. This cannot be correct, as it would imply that six heads had fallen at the date of the Apocalypse, which is directly counter to Rev 17:10. Auberlen omits the Palestinian, and reckons the Assyrian as the second, on the authority of Jer. 1. 17 sq. Is it not more probable that the Seer contemplated the Assyrian and Babylonian as one head—the third, and the Palestinian as the second Most certainly this power, as represented by the Philistines (or the Arabian hordes), may well be regarded as one of the persecuting heads.—E. R. C.]