Revelation 13:14
And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the 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.
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(14) And deceiveth them . . .—Better, And he leads astray those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which were given him to do in the presence of the wild beast; saying to those who dwell on the earth, to make an image to the wild beast that has the stroke of the sword and lived. He leads astray: this is the key to his success, he deifies the spirit of worldliness; but he does it by deception and subtlety: there is an appearance of wonderful power: he can work lying wonders. When men lose the sense of duty,—the will to ask, “Is it right?”—they become an easy prey to some specious deception. This is the reason that, both in the old and new dispensations, a caution against “immoral marvels” is entered (see Deuteronomy 13:1-3; Matthew 24:24; and 2Thessalonians 2:9); mere greatness, either of achievement or of miracle, is no guarantee of a good cause. The motto “Might is right is the motto of worldliness; “Right is might” is the motto of faith, and those who hold it cannot worship the beast, even though the stroke of his death-wound is healed. Men have appealed to lying miracles on behalf of a death-wounded creed: the cleverness of self-interested partisanship is seldom barren of imposing expedients.

13:11-18 Those who understand the first beast to denote a worldly power, take the second to be also a persecuting and assumed power, which acts under the disguise of religion, and of charity to the souls of men. It is a spiritual dominion, professing to be derived from Christ, and exercised at first in a gentle manner, but soon spake like the dragon. Its speech betrayed it; for it gives forth those false doctrines and cruel decrees, which show it to belong to the dragon, and not to the Lamb. It exercised all the power of the former beast. It pursues the same design, to draw men from worshipping the true God, and to subject the souls of men to the will and control of men. The second beast has carried on its designs, by methods whereby men should be deceived to worship the former beast, in the new shape, or likeness made for it. By lying wonders, pretended miracles. And by severe censures. Also by allowing none to enjoy natural or civil rights, who will not worship that beast which is the image of the pagan beast. It is made a qualification for buying and selling, as well as for places of profit and trust, that they oblige themselves to use all their interest, power, and endeavour, to forward the dominion of the beast, which is meant by receiving his mark. To make an image to the beast, whose deadly wound was healed, would be to give form and power to his worship, or to require obedience to his commands. To worship the image of the beast, implies being subject to those things which stamp the character of the picture, and render it the image of the beast. The number of the beast is given, so as to show the infinite wisdom of God, and to exercise the wisdom of men. The number is the number of a man, computed after the usual manner among men, and it is 666. What or who is intended by this, remains a mystery. To almost every religious dispute this number has yet been applied, and it may reasonably be doubted whether the meaning has yet been discovered. But he who has wisdom and understanding, will see that all the enemies of God are numbered and marked out for destruction; that the term of their power will soon expire, and that all nations shall submit to our King of righteousness and peace.And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles - Nothing could possibly be more descriptive of the papacy than this. It has been kept up by deception and delusion, and its pretended miracles have been, and are to this day, the means by which this is done. Anyone in the slightest degree acquainted with the pretended miracles practiced at Rome, will see the propriety of this description as applied to the papacy. The main fact here stated, that the papacy would endeavor to sustain itself by pretended miracles, is confirmed by an incidental remark of Mr. Gibbon, when speaking of the pontificate of Gregory the Great; he says: "The credulity or the prudence of Gregory was always disposed to confirm the truths of religion by the evidence of ghosts, miracles, and resurrections" (Decline and Fall, 3:210). Even within a month of the time that I am writing (October 5, 1850), intelligence has been received in this country of extraordinary privileges conferred on some city in Italy, because the eyes of a picture of the Virgin in that city have miraculously moved - greatly to the "confirmation of the faithful."

Such things are constantly occurring; and it is by these that the supremacy of the papacy has been and is sustained. The Breviary teems with examples of miracles performed by the saints. For instance: Francis Xavier turned a sufficient quantity of salt water into fresh to save the lives of five hundred travelers who were dying of thirst, enough being left to allow a large exportation to different parts of the world, where it performed astonishing cures. Raymond de Pennafort laid his cloak on the sea, and sailed from Majorca to Barcelona, a distance of a hundred and sixty miles, in six hours. Juliana lay on her death-bed; her stomach rejected all solid food, and in consequence she was prevented from receiving the eucharist. In compliance with her earnest solicitations, the consecrated wafer was laid on her breast; the priest prayed; the wafer vanished, and Juliana expired. Many pages might be filled with accounts of modern miracles of the most ridiculous description, yet believed by Roman Catholics - the undoubted means by which papal Rome "deceives the world," and keeps up its ascendency in this age. See Forsyth's Italy, ii. pp. 154-157; Rome in the Nineteenth Century, i. p. 40, 86, ii. p. 356, 3, pp. 193-201; Lady Morgan's Italy, ii. p. 306, iii. p. 189; Graham's Three Months' Residence, etc., p. 241.

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

That they should make an image to the beast - That is, something that would represent the beast, and that might be an object of worship. The word rendered "image" - εἰκών eikōn - means properly:

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

(b) a likeness, resemblance, similitude.

Here the meaning would seem to be that, in order to secure the acknowledgment of the beast, and the homage to be rendered to him, there was something like a statue made, or that John saw in vision such a representation - that is, that a state of things existed as if such a statue were made, and people were constrained to acknowledge this. All that is stated here would be fulfilled if the old Roman civil power should become to a large extent dead, or cease to exert its influence over people, and if then the papal spiritual power should cause a form of domination to exist strongly resembling the former in its general character and extent, and if it should secure this result - that the world would acknowledge its sway or render it homage as it did to the old Roman government. This would receive its fulfillment if it be supposed that the first "beast" represented the ancient Roman civil power as such; that this died away - as if the head had received a fatal wound; that it was again revived under the influence of the papacy; and that, under that influence, a civil government, strongly resembling the old Roman dominion, was caused to exist, depending for its vital energy on the papacy, and, in its turn, lending its aid to support the papacy.

All this in fact occurred in the decline of the Roman power after the time of Constantine, and its final apparent extinction, as if "wounded to death," in the exile of the last of the emperors, the son of Orestes, who assumed the names of Romulus and Augustus, names which were corrupted, the former by the Greeks into Momyllus, and the latter by the Latins "into the contemptible diminutive Augustulus." See Gibbon 2:381. Under him the empire ceased, until it was revived in the days of Charlemagne. In the empire which then sprung up, and which owed much of its influence to the sustaining aid of the papacy, we discern the "image" of the former Roman power; the prolongation of the Roman ascendency over the world. On the exile of the feeble son of Orestes (476 a.d.), the government passed into the hands of Odoacer, "the first barbarian who reigned in Italy" (Gibbon); and then the authority was divided among the sovereignties which sprang up after the conquests of the barbarians, until the "empire" was again restored in the time and the person of Charlemagne. See Gibbon, iii.344ff.

Which had the wound by a sword, and did live - Which had a wound that was naturally fatal. but whose fatal consequences were prevented by the intervention of another power. See the notes on Revelation 13:3. That is, according to the explanation given above, the Roman imperial power was "wounded with a fatal wound" by the invasions of the northern hordes - the sword of the conquerors. Its power, however, was restored by the papacy, giving life to what resembled essentially the Roman civil jurisdiction - the "image" of the former beast; and that power, thus restored, asserted its dominion again, as the prolonged Roman dominion - the fourth kingdom of Daniel (see the notes on Daniel 7:19 ff) - over the world.

14. deceiveth them that dwell on the earth—the earthly-minded, but not the elect. Even a miracle is not enough to warrant belief in a professed revelation unless that revelation be in harmony with God's already revealed will.

by the means of those miracles—rather as Greek, "on account of (because of; in consequence of) those miracles."

which he had power to do—Greek, "which were given him to do."

in the sight of the beast—"before him" (Re 13:12).

which—A, B, and C read, "who"; marking, perhaps, a personal Antichrist.

had—So B and Andreas read. But A, C, and Vulgate read, "hath."

The Lord showeth his prophet by what means the papacy should cheat the world, viz. by pretences of miracles, which it had a power to work, (the doctrines of the Church of Rome to this are sufficiently known), all which are done

in the sight of the beast, that is, to his honour, and to gain him a reputation. As God gave his prophets and apostles a power to work true miracles for the confirmation of their mission from him, and of the doctrines which they brought; so he permitted others to work lying wonders for the confirmation of their false doctrine. The apostle therefore describeth the coming of antichrist to be with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousess, 2 Thessalonians 2:9,10.

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: these words show the design of this last mentioned beast, viz. to make an image to the beast which had the wound by a sword. Mr. Mede’s notion here seemeth best to me, that by the beast which had the wound by a sword, is to be understood the dragon, of whose wound we read, Revelation 6:1-17. He was the type of the pagan emperors, whom God rooted out. Antichrist’s design was to make an image of that old beast, in which it might again live; which he did by his setting up the veneration of images, and the invocation of saints; the pagan idolatry lying chiefly in their adoration of persons (who had been famous amongst them) when they were dead, making them their mediators to their supreme gods, and in the veneration of their images and statues. The making the image of this beast, was the restoring of the same idolatry, changing only the names of princes and great soldiers, whom the pagans worshipped after their death, into the names of saints; in which image the dragon lived again: and it is sufficiently known how the Romish clergy deceiveth people into this idolatry by their stories of miracles done by such saints.

And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth,.... The Complutensian edition, and two of Stephens's copies, read "mine", instead of "them"; creatures of God, and professors of Christ, carnal and unregenerate men; not the elect of God, and true believers in Christ, these cannot be deceived by the signs and wonders of false Christs and false prophets; antichrist's deceivableness of unrighteousness only operates in them that perish:

by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; the secular power of the Papacy encouraging, confirming, and giving a sanction to those lying miracles, and obliging all to believe them, and come into the things, doctrines, or practices, they are designed to promote:

saying to them that dwell on the earth: the apostate church, or the carnal inhabitants of the empire: ordering and commanding them

that they should make an image to the beast which had the wound by a sword, and did live; meaning the Roman empire, which had received a deadly wound in its sixth head, the emperors, by the sword of the Goths, Huns, &c. but now revived in its seventh head, the pope of Rome, to whom the ten kings gave their kingdoms: the image made to this beast some understand of the translation of the empire to Charles the great, and his successors the emperors, by the pope of Rome, he ordaining so many electors to chose a king of the Romans, and elect an emperor when one was wanting; and this was an image to the first beast, a shadow, an appearance of the Roman empire, and but a shadow; for the power of inaugurating and crowning these emperors, and of setting up and deposing them when the pope pleased, lie reserved to himself: but rather this designs the image worship, or the worshipping of idols of gold and silver, of wood and stone, which he caused the inhabitants of the earth to make, and give adoration to; or else the whole Papal religion, and the Papacy itself, for the beast, and the image of the beast, are all along in this book afterwards mentioned together as being the same, Revelation 14:9, which is an image of the Gentile religion, in their high priest, priests, temples, idols, offerings, garments, worshipping of angels, and saints departed, with a numerous train of rites and ceremonies, borrowed from the old Pagan religion; hence the Papists are called Gentiles, Revelation 11:2, the Roman empire, represented by these two beasts, and this image, had now one head, the pope, as before an emperor, and a religion in it much resembling its ancient one; but, before that was set up, this image was in being.

And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an {20} image to the {21} beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

(20) That is, images, by enallage or change of the number: for the worship of them ever since the second Council of Nicea, has been ordained in the Church by public credit and authority, contrary to the Law of God.

(21) In the Greek the word is in the Dative case, as much to say, as to the worship, honour and obeying of the beast: for by this maintenance of images, this pseudo-prophetical beast mightily profits the beast of Rome, of whom long ago he received them. Wherefore the same is hereafter fittingly called the image of the beast, for images have their beginning from the beast, and have their form or manner from the will of the beast, and have their end and use fixed in the profit and commodity of the beast.

Revelation 13:14. As Beliar sets up “his image before him in every city” (Asc. Isa. iv. 11, after 10 = “and there will be the power of his miracles in every city and region”), so here the εἰκών or bust of the emperor as the Neronic antichrist representing the empire (cf. the hint repeated from Revelation 13:12 c) is brought forward along with the statues of the gods to receive offerings of wine and incense from the citizens. For the naîve identification of such images with the deities they represented see Friedländer, iii. 500 f.—λέγων = κελεύων (Blass § 72, 5).

14. deceiveth] Revelation 19:20. There is still a reminiscence of St Matthew 24:24.

an image] We cannot tell how, or how literally, this prophecy will be fulfilled in the last days: but it is certainly relevant to remember how the refusal of worship to the Emperor’s image was made the test of Christianity in the primitive persecutions—perhaps especially by humane and reluctant persecutors like Pliny (see his famous letter to Trajan) who acted not from fanaticism, but from supposed political necessity. And the king-worship of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,—the maxim, earlier acted on than avowed, cujus regio ejus religio,—shews us the really Antichristian element in the persecutions of that age.—To the ingenious theory, that the second Beast is the Papacy, and “the image of the first Beast” the mediaeval Empire, it is a fatal objection that, though the Popes may be said to have made and vivified the “Holy Roman Empire,” they certainly did not make the world worship it; they might more plausibly be charged with making it worship them.

Revelation 13:14. Τῆς μαχαίρας, of the sword) It had been strictly speaking a wound by the sword. For Henry V., in his transaction with Callixto II., calls the contention which had preceded WAR [GUERRA].

Verse 14. - And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast, he deceives by employing false signs, and he deceives by inducing men to believe that the worship of the first beast is allowable. Those "that dwell on the earth" are the worldly minded, as in ver. 12. "Which he had power to do" should rather be "which it was given him to do," as in the Revised Version. The power possessed by the beast does not originate with himself; he possesses it only subject to the will of God (cf. vers. 5 and 7). Thus the second beast - self deceit - beguiles men. They accept exhibitions of power external to God as evidences of an independence and self sufficiency which do not exist apart from God, forgetful of the fact that this power is derived from God: it is given by him. (For "in the sight of the beast," see on ver. 12.) Saying to them that dwell on the earth. Λέγων, "saying," masculine, agrees with the neuter θηρίον. The writer uses the masculine, as in ver. 8, because of the personified nature of the beast. It is not fair to press the word (as some writers do) into the signification that a man must be intended. "Them that dwell on the earth" - the worldly minded (vide supra). That they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live; who hath the stroke of a sword, and lived, as in the Revised Version. The masculine as before (vide supra). This beast suggested that men should set up an image of the first beast, not in order to pay greater honour to the first beast, but that an apparent alternative might be offered to men, so that those who hesitated to pay direct allegiance to the first beast might overcome their scruples and worship something which resembled him, while allowing them to, as it were, cheat their own consciences by persuading themselves that they were not worshipping the beast himself. These two classes of men are, of course, essentially one; they are, in reality, all followers of the beast; but still there is a difference in the manner in which they become worshippers of the beast. The distinction of the two classes seems to be kept in mind in Revelation 19:20 and Revelation 20:4, where, however, all are included in the same condemnation. Thus the apostle teaches us that those who, by specious and plausible reasoning, who, in short, by self deceit, allow themselves to east in their lot with the worldly - the avowed followers of the first beast - are equally guilty with those who openly proclaim themselves followers of the world. (On the last part of the verse, the nature of the sword stroke, see on ver. 3.) Revelation 13:14An image to the beast (εἰκόνα τῷ θηρίῳ)

Εἰκών is a figure or likeness. Thus Matthew 22:20, of the likeness of Caesar on the coin. Romans 1:24, an image of men, birds, beasts, etc. Colossians 3:10, "the image of Him that created him;" i.e., the moral likeness of renewed men to God. Christ is called the image of God (Colossians 1:15; 2 Corinthians 4:4). Besides the idea of likeness, the word involves the idea of representation, though not of perfect representation. Thus, man is said to be the image of God (1 Corinthians 11:7). In this it resembles χαρακτήρ image in Hebrews 1:3. Caesar's image on the coin, the reflection of the sun in the water (Plato, "Phaedo," 99); and the statue or image of the beast in this passage, are εἰκών.

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

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

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

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