Revelation 13:10
He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
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(10) This verse may read: If any one (is) for captivity, into captivity he goeth; if any one to be hilled by the sword, he should by the sword be killed. If we read the verse thus, it is generally understood to be a caution to the suffering saints that there is nothing for them but to endure, just as Jeremiah told his countrymen that those who were for death must go out to meet it, and those who were for sword or captivity must face them (Jeremiah 15:2). But is not this a warning to them that the way of the Church’s victory lay through suffering captivity and meeting sword, and that the temptation to take the sword or seize the weapons of their foes would be fatal to their true success? The spirit of the words reminds them that their weapons are the weapons of faith and patience, of truth and righteousness; and they must accept the tribulation, as their Lord did His cross, because thus it must be. At the same time, their very doing so is a witness to their foes that “all those who take the sword will perish with the sword;” and that the sword, from which the saints do not shrink, will assuredly turn against those who use it. Here (i.e., in the enduring of these persecutions, and amid so many temptations, not seizing easy, world-like methods of saving themselves) is the endurance and faith of the saints.

13:1-10 The apostle, standing on the shore, saw a savage beast rise out of the sea; a tyrannical, idolatrous, persecuting power, springing up out of the troubles which took place. It was a frightful monster! It appears to mean that worldly, oppressing dominion, which for many ages, even from the times of the Babylonish captivity, had been hostile to the church. The first beast then began to oppress and persecute the righteous for righteousness' sake, but they suffered most under the fourth beast of Daniel, (the Roman empire,) which has afflicted the saints with many cruel persecutions. The source of its power was the dragon. It was set up by the devil, and supported by him. The wounding the head may be the abolishing pagan idolatry; and the healing of the wound, introducing popish idolatry, the same in substance, only in a new dress, but which as effectually answers the devil's design. The world admired its power, policy and success. They paid honour and subjection to the devil and his instruments. It exercised infernal power and policy, requiring men to render that honour to creatures which belongs to God alone. Yet the devil's power and success are limited. Christ has a chosen remnant, redeemed by his blood, recorded in his book, sealed by his Spirit; and though the devil and antichrist may overcome the body, and take away the natural life, they cannot conquer the soul, nor prevail with true believers to forsake their Saviour, and join his enemies. Perseverance in the faith of the gospel and true worship of God, in this great hour of trial and temptation, which would deceive all but the elect, is the character of those registered in the book of life. This powerful motive and encouragement to constancy, is the great design of the whole Revelation.He that leadeth into captivity - This is clearly intended to refer to the power or government which is denoted by the beast. The form of expression here in the Greek is special - "If anyone leadeth into captivity," etc. - Εἴ τις αἰχμαλωσίαν συνάγει Ei tis aichmalōsian sunagei. The statement is general, and is intended to make use of a general or prevalent truth with reference to this particular case. The general truth is, that people will, in the course of things, be dealt with according to their character and their treatment of others; that nations characterized by war and conquests will be subject to the evils of war and conquest - or that they may expect to share the same lot which they have brought on others. This general statement accords with what the Saviour says in Matthew 26:52; "All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." This has been abundantly illustrated in the world; and it is a very important admonition to nations not to indulge in the purposes of conquest and to individuals not to engage in strife and litigation. The particular idea here is, that it would be a characteristic of the power here referred to that it would "lead others into captivity." This would be fulfilled if it was the characteristic of this power to invade other countries and to make their inhabitants prisoners of war; if it made slaves of other people; if it set up an unjust dominion over other people; or if it was distinguished for persecuting and imprisoning the innocent, or for depriving the nations of liberty. It is unnecessary to say that this is strikingly descriptive of Rome, considered in any and every point of view, whether under the republic or the empire, whether secular or ecclesiastical, whether pagan or papal. In the following forms there has been a complete fulfillment under that mighty power of what is here said:

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

(b) In its persecutions of true Christians, alike pursued under the pagan and the papal form of the administration.

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

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

He that killeth with the sword - See the notes as above, on Matthew 26:52. There can be no doubt that this is applicable to Rome in all the forms of its administration considered as a pagan power; or considered as a nominally Christian power, either with reference to its secular or its spiritual dominion. Compute the numbers of human beings that have been put to death by that Roman power, and no better language could have been chosen to characterize it than what is used here - "killed with the sword." Compare the notes on Daniel 7:24-28, II.((3), (g).

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

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

10. He that leadeth into captivity—A, B, C, and Vulgate read, "if any one (be) for captivity."

shall go into captivity—Greek present, "goeth into captivity." Compare Jer 15:2, which is alluded to here. Aleph, B, and C read simply, "he goeth away," and omit "into captivity." But A and Vulgate support the words.

he that killeth with the sword, must be killed with the sword—So B and C read. But A reads, "if any (is for) being (literally, 'to be') killed with the sword." As of old, so now, those to be persecuted by the beast in various ways, have their trials severally appointed them by God's fixed counsel. English Version is quite a different sense, namely, a warning to the persecutors that they shall be punished with retribution in kind.

Here—"Herein": in bearing their appointed sufferings lies the patient endurance … of the saints. This is to be the motto and watchword of the elect during the period of the world kingdom. As the first beast is to be met by patience and faith (Re 13:10), the second beast must be opposed by true wisdom (Re 13:18).

As it was God’s manner by the prophets of old, when he had denounced judgments against his people, to comfort them by a prediction of the ruin of their enemies; so here, by this his New Testament prophet, he assureth his church, that antichrist also should have his period, and have the same measure meted to him which he had meted out to others, by leading into captivity, and killing with the sword: and indeed, there are no sins which God doth so ordinarily punish by retaliation, as sins against justice and mercy, (of which nature persecutions are the most eminent), Isaiah 33:1,2.

Here is the patience and the faith of the saints; that is, there is a time for God’s people to exercise their faith and patience: patience, because they are like to wait for deliverance a long time, and to suffer many sharp things in the mean time; and faith, because their deliverance will be a thing out of sight, of which they will have no security but from the promise of God.

He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity,.... As the devil, by whom men are led captive at his will, and the Romish antichrist, who leads multitudes of souls to hell; these shall be taken and cast into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone. The Jews (g) have a saying, that

"captivity comes into the world for idolatry, uncleanness, and murder;''

which three things are notorious in the Romish antichrist: and in the same treatise they say (h), that the sword, the next judgment mentioned, comes into the world for delay of justice, and the perversion of it.

He that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword; the design of the phrase is to show, that there will be a just retaliation made to the antichristian beast, for all his cruelty to the saints, and the murders of them; and that because he has shed much blood of the saints, blood shall be given him to drink, and he shall be used in like manner he has used others; see Genesis 9:6 Matthew 26:52.

Here is the patience and the faith of the saints; meaning either that hereby, through the cruelties and barbarities of the Romish antichrist, the patience and faith of the saints are tried; and that they have great need of them, and of the exercise of them, under such usages; and that these being tried, and continue, will receive much commendation, honour, and praise; or else the sense is, that it requires both faith and patience in the saints, to believe that antichrist will be thus destroyed, and to wait quietly till the time comes. The Arabic version reads, "here is the patience and prayers of the saints": who cry, how long will it be ere our blood is avenged? and have need of patience to rest a while, till their prayers are answered.

(g) Pirke Abot, c. 5. sect. 9. (h) Ib. sect. 8.

He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
10. He that leadeth into captivity] Decidedly the best attested reading is, “If any into captivity, into captivity he goeth:” and there being no verb expressed in the first clause, it is a question what verb is to be supplied. This will depend on the sense given to the rest of the sentence, and this on the reading adopted there. If the received text be right (it is, more literally than in the A. V., “if any will kill with the sword, he must be killed with the sword:” cf. St Matthew 26:52), its reading in the earlier clause must be accepted as a correct gloss. But there is a reading—not so well attested, and which might have arisen accidentally—“if any to be killed by the sword, [he must]” (one important MS. omits this) “be killed by the sword.” Inferior as this reading is in external evidence, it is supported by the parallel with Jeremiah 15:2; Jeremiah 43:11. We have therefore the choice between the two versions, “If any man [be] for captivity, he goeth into captivity: if any [be] to be slain by the sword, he must be slain by the sword,” and that of the A. V. with the word “leadeth” put in italics: and we shall choose between them, according as we think that St John is likelier to have had in his mind the text in Jeremiah or our Lord’s saying. Perhaps the former suits the context best—“the patience and the faith of the saints” is to be shewn in submitting to death or captivity. But the other view, that their patience and faith is to be sustained by remembering the certainty of God’s vengeance on their oppressors, is supported by the parallel passage, Revelation 14:12.

Revelation 13:10. Αἰχμαλωσίαν συνάγει) The LXX. have συγκλείειν αἰχμαλωσίαν, εἰσάγειν αἰχμαλωσίαν, ἄγειν αἰχμαλωσίαν, respecting the vanquished who are led away into captivity: but in 1 Maccab. Revelation 14:7, it is said, συνήγαγεν αἰχμαλωσίαν πολλήν· that is, Simon freed and brought together many, who had been captives. Also 1 Maccab. Revelation 3:9; Revelation 3:13, συνήγαγεν ἀπολλυμένους, ἤθροισεν ἄθροισμα. And this notion agrees with this passage, in this sense: if any one supplies and equips captives, he will be taken captive.—ὑπάγει, goes away) being easily led away.—ἀποκτένει) The present, as συνάγει. Κτένω, κτέννω, and κτείνω, are the same.

Verse 10. - He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. There is a twofold difficulty in this verse: first, as to the correct text; secondly, as to the meaning. There are two chief readings. Codex: A has Αἴ τις εἰς αἰχμαλωσίαν εἰς αἰχμαλωσίον ὑπάγει; literally, if any one late captivity, into captivity he goeth; which probably means, "If any one is ordained unto captivity, into captivity he goeth." The reading of the Textus Receptus looks like an attempt to amplify and make clear the above reading: Αἴ τις αἰχμαλωσίαν συνάγει εἰς αἰχμαλωσίαν ὑπάγει. XXX, B, C, have the reading of A, omitting the repetition of αἰχμαλωσίαν. This omission is easily explained by homoeoteleuton, and accordingly the majority of critical editors follow Codex A. There are two passages in Jeremiah which are suggested by these words. Jeremiah 15:2 reads, "Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity;" Jeremiah 43:11, "And deliver such as are for death, to death; and such as are for captivity, to captivity; and such as are for the sword, to the sword." Matthew 26:52 may also be referred to: "All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." The verse in the text appears to contain both the meanings of the passages referred to. The first half seems to point out that there are woes foreordained for Christians which they must undergo: "He for whom captivity is appointed must be content to suffer captivity." The next part extends the meaning, adding a warning: "You Christians must suffer these things; not only not relinquishing your faith, but also not meeting three with force; remembering always your Master's saying, 'They that take the sword shall perish with the sword.'" Then the verse concludes, "Here is [the proof of] the patience and the faith of the saints." St. John has just described to his hearers the extensive nature of the power of the world (vers. 3, 7, 8); the obvious conclusion was that captivity, etc., was the lot appointed for some of them. He has also told them of the war waged by the world against Christians, and now he adds the necessary caution against any attempt to defend themselves by the use of the sword. And thus not only their patience but their faith was to be tested. They were not only to bear patiently evils which they could not avoid, but they must have sufficient faith to enable them voluntarily to forego any opportunities which might occur to prevent their sufferings by force of arms. Revelation 13:10He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity (εἴ τις αἰχμαλωσίαν συνάγει, εἰς αἰχμαλωσίαν ὑπάγει)

Lit., if any one assemble captivity (i.e., bring together captives) into captivity he goeth away. The best texts insert εἰς into before the first captivity, and omit assemble, thus reading if any man is for captivity into captivity he goeth. So Rev. See on dispersion, John 7:35. Compare Jeremiah 15:2; Jeremiah 43:11. The persecutors of the Church shall suffer that which they inflict on the saints.

Sword (μαχαὶρῃ)

See on Revelation 6:4.


In the thought that God judgeth in the earth.

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