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Revelation 13

Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New TestamentMeyer's Commentary

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Ch. 12 Rev 12:18. ἐστάθη . So Treg., Lach. [W. and H.], also Hofm. (Weiss. u. Erf. II. 354), after the best witnesses (A, C, א , 92, Vulg., Syr., Ar., Aeth., Ed., Ald.), indorsed already by Mill (Proleg., 1249). The Recepta ἐστάθην (B., Copt., al., Griesb., Matth., Tisch., Ewald, De Wette, etc.) is, most probably, an accommodation to the succeeding καὶ εἰδον . Cf. the exposition.

Ch. 13 Revelation 13:1 . κέρατα δέκα καὶ κεφαλὰς ἑπτὰ . So, properly already, Griesb. The reverse order (Elz.), as Revelation 12:3 , appears more natural.

ὄνομα βλασφημίας . The singular (Elz., Wetst., Beng.) sufficiently supported by C, א , and other witnesses, which, besides, Andreas has in his text and commentary, is properly maintained by Züll. and De Wette. The strongly indorsed plural ὀνόματα (A, B, Verss., Lach., Tisch. [W. and H.]), received already by Griesb., is suspicious as an interpretation.

Revelation 13:5 . Whether καὶ βλασφημίας (C, א , Elz., Tisch. IX. [W. and H.]), or κ . βλασφημίαν (B, al., Beng., Tisch.), or, finally, κ . βλάσφημα (A, Lach.), is to be written, is not to be decided from the witnesses contradicting one another. The reading βλάσφημα does not commend itself, because of its conformity with the preceding μεγάλα . The sing. might merit preference to the plur. (cf. Revelation 13:6 , where είς βλασφημίας is correctly read, Lach., Tisch.), as a less easy reading.

Revelation 13:7 . The first member of the verse, καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῷ πόλεμον ποιῆσαι (Elz., Beng., Griesb.; ποιῆσαι πόλεμον , א , Tisch.) μετὰ τῶν ἁγίων καὶ νικῆσαι αὑτούς , is lacking in important witnesses (A, C, 12, 14, 92), and is erased by Lach. But the words which occur in B, א , Verss., and whose erroneous omission is easily explained, because the second half of the verse also begins with καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῷ , are retained with greater propriety by Tisch.

Revelation 13:8 . Instead of the Rec. ὡν ού γέγραπται τὰ ὀνόματα ἐυ τῇ βίβλῳ τ . ζ ., it is undoubtedly more correct to read: τὸ ὀνομα (A, B, C, al.) and ἑν τῷ βιβλίῳ τ . ζ . (Beng., Griesb., Lach., Tisch. [W. and H.]). But the rest of the words also are, with Lach., Tisch.[W. and H.], to be changed to οὖ οὐ γέγπ . τὸ ὄνομα αὐτου ἐν τ . β . τ . ζ . The οὖ occurs in C, Iren.; the αὐτου in A, C. Also the particularly erroneous reading οὐαὶ , which A has written before γέγρ ., appears to point back to the reading οὖ οὐ γέγρ . א appears uncertain.

The τοῦ before ἐσφαγμ ., which is lacking in the Rec., is properly (A, B, C, א ) restored by Beng., Griesb., Lach., Tisch. [W. and H.].

Revelation 13:10 . The Rec., εἴ τις αἰχμαλωσίαν συνάγει , εἰς ἀιχμαλωσίαν ὑπάγει , which in this form is almost without support, expresses most readily, and, for this reason, in a suspicious way, the meaning which numerous variations in many ways describe (“If any one shall have led captivity, he shall go into captivity”(Iren.). εἵ τις αἰχμαλωτίζει , εἰς αἰχμαλωσίαν ὑπάγει . 7. αἰχμαλωτιεῖ , αἰμαλωτισθήσεται , 18), and which A gives thus: εἴ τις εἰς αἰχμαλωσίαν , εἰς αἰχμαλωσίαν ὑπάγει (Lach., large ed., Tisch. [W. and H.]). To this last reading the defective form of the text also points, which occurs in B, C, א , 28, 38: εἴ τις εἰς αἰχμαλωσίαν ὑπάγει , for this is manifestly only a mistake which has once omitted the twice-written words εἰς αἰχμαλωσίαν . The corrupt reading in Andr., εἴ τις ἔχει αἰχμαλωσίαν , ὑπάγει , is manifestly only the remnant of an interpretation. According to the witnesses, therefore, the text given by Lach. and Tisch. is the best. But it is not improbable (cf. De Wette) that the ὑπάγει also is an interpretation; for the entire sentence, elliptical also in the second clause, would read: εἴ τις εἰς αἰχμαλωσίαν , εἰς αἰχμαλωσίαν .

Revelation 13:12 . καὶ ποιεῖ τ . γ . The pres. (A, C, א , Elz., Lach., Tisch. IX. [W. and H.]), which is certain in Revelation 13:12 a and Revelation 13:13 , would be unchanged not only in the imperf. (B, Tisch.), but also in the fut. (cf. Griesb., Tisch.).

Revelation 13:14 . Instead of the neuter ὃ ἔχ . ( א ), the extremely remarkable masc. ὃς occurs not only in A, 28, 33 (Griesb.), but also (cf. Tisch.) in B, C. Lach. and Tisch. [W. and H.] have, therefore, written ὃς . But since the writer of the Apoc. could have written the masc. neither by a grammatical error (cf. Revelation 13:2 ; Revelation 13:11 ), nor possibly because of the reference to a masc. subject, which would be represented by the θηρίον (against Hofm., Schriftbew . II. 2, p. 635; Volkmar. See exposition), the grammatically correct form is to be maintained, although the appearance of the ὃς in the most important MSS. is inexplicable. Perhaps the masc. (cf. Revelation 17:16 ; also Revelation 14:1 , var. lect.) is an attempt at interpretation in the sense of Volkmar. But the interpretation thus indicated is refuted by the context. The reference also to ὁ δράκων (cf. Revelation 13:8 ) is here impossible. The neut. necessary for correct exegesis has in its favor also the critical authority of א .

Revelation 13:15 . The ἱνα , which must be expected with ἀποκτανθῶσιν after the ποίησῃ , occurs in A (Lach.) before ὅσοι , in minusc. directly before ἀποκτ . (Elz.). That the particle is missing in B, א (so also Tisch.), is occasioned indeed by the uncertainty of the passage.

Revelation 13:17 . A, B, א 1, Vulg., al., favor the καὶ at the beginning of the verse. The omission (C, Lach., Tisch. IX.) is easily explained, since, as the catena (in Tisch.) expressly says, it is regarded as superfluous.

After the dragon, in order to inflict his wrath upon believers (Revelation 12:17 ), has come to the seashore (Revelation 13:18 ), John sees a beast rise out of the sea, which, like the dragon himself (Revelation 12:3 ), is furnished with ten horns, seven heads, and ten diadems, and already by these insignia immediately makes known that it is an instrument to be employed by him in his war (Revelation 12:17 ). To this beast the dragon also gives great power and dominion (Revelation 13:2 ), and it is permitted to make war against the saints (Revelation 13:7 ); yet the description of this mighty instrument in the hand of Satan does not remain without the definite encouragement of sure consolation (Revelation 13:10 ).

Besides the first beast, still another, which rises from the earth, is presented to the eye of the seer (Revelation 13:11 sqq.). This second beast appears, not as co-ordinate with the first, which is absolutely the beast (Revelation 13:14-15 ; Revelation 13:17-18 ), but [3209] subordinate to it, an accomplice by means of seductive speeches, and other means of deception, to promote the activity of the first beast, and thus, likewise, to serve the wrath of the dragon.

[3209] Cf. Hengstenb.

Verse 1

Rev 12:18. και ἐστάθη . The reading of the Rec. κ . ἐστάθην , in a documentary respect decidedly inferior to κ . ἐστάθη , is not utterly impossible in an exegetical respect, as De Wette says; [3210] for there is no contradiction between the ἘΣΤΆΘΗ and the ἈΠῆΛΘΕ ΠΟΛΕΜῆΣΑΙ (Revelation 12:17 ), but in Rev 12:18 it is directly described how the dragon, who (Revelation 12:17 ) turns from the fruitless persecution of the woman to begin a conflict with believers, now stations himself on the seashore, viz., by no means as a spectator, [3211] but with the purpose to call forth the beast from the sea, and to equip him with his power (Revelation 13:2 ), which he will use as his instrument in the conflict he has now undertaken against believers. [3212] Against Ebrard, who objects: “Is John to have the dragon standing by the sea, and, besides, see his incarnation rise from the sea? What the dragon commits to the ΘΗΡΊΟΝ are not possessions which he could have transmitted to him visibly. The dragon also no longer comes before us; it is not known whither he has gone,” it is especially to be considered, that in Revelation 13:2 the dragon appears on the scene actually and visibly to John, communicates his power, etc., to the ΘΗΡΊΟΝ , and that this is in no way an “incarnation” of Satan, in the sense that he himself could not appear with the beast. Hence, between the ἈΠῆΛΘΕ ΠΟΛΕΜῆΣΑΙ , Κ . Τ . Λ . , Revelation 12:17 , and the ἜΔΩΚΕΝ , Κ . Τ . Λ . , Revelation 13:2 , something must interpose, which explains that the ἈΠῆΛΘΕ does not declare a complete retirement from the scene of the vision. This interposition is given with exquisite appropriateness by the ΚΑῚ ἘΣΤΆΘΗ , Κ . Τ . Λ . , Revelation 13:18 .

ἘΠῚ ΤῊΝ ἌΜΜΟΝ Τῆς ΘΑΛ . , because the beast is to come ἘΚ Τῆς ΘΑΛΆΣΣΗς (Revelation 13:1 ).

[3210] Cf. also Vitr., Beng., Züll., Ewald, Bleek, Hengstenb., and Auberlen, all of whom expressly speak in favor of the Rec.

[3211] “Was the dragon the spectator, or was John?” Vitr.

[3212] Cf. Hofm.; also Volkm.

Revelation 13:1 . The following hints may serve for the preliminary fixing of points amidst the complication of expositions of the details and of the whole, that cross one another:

1. The interpretation of the beast upon the sea, Revelation 13:1-10 , which appears also in Revelation 13:11-18 as the chief beast, and whose correct interpretation is, therefore, the chief question, is attempted in a twofold way, as in the beast there is, or is not, found a symbol of the Roman character (worldly dominion and power, the worship of idols, and superstition, etc.). The two chief species of exposition have each, again, two particular forms, which are very distinct. While many expositors in their reference to Rome refer only to pagan Rome, [3213] others have in mind Christian, i.e., papal, antichristian Rome. [3214] On the other hand, however, many expositors also, who interpreted neither the entire form of the beast, nor all his individual features, as referring to Rome, yet have assumed a reference to papal Rome by regarding the beast, [3215] as a whole, as pertaining to the description of the secular power, and have found the appearance of the secular power in the papacy symbolized, at least, by one part of the form of the beast, viz., by one of the seven heads; [3216] while, especially by Catholic interpreters, [3217] a mode of explanation is recommended, which regards the reference to Rome as distant as possible.

[3213] Victorin., Beda, Alcas, Bossuet, Hammond, Grot., Wetst., Elchh., Herd., Ewald, De Wette, Lücke, Bleek.

[3214] Coccej., Vitr., Luther, Calov, Bengel., and many others.

[3215] A. Ch. Lämmert ( Babel, das Their u. der falsche Prophet , Gotha, 1863), depending on Auberlen, has wandered into arbitrary generalities.

[3216] Hengstenb., Ebrard, Auberlen.

[3217] C. a Lap., Stern; cf. also already Andr.

2. The exposition is regulated , on the one hand, by the symbol of Daniel; on the other, by the parallel descriptions in the Apoc. itself (ch. Revelation 12:3 sqq.; ch. 17). But with what freedom and independence John both has, in ch. 13, fashioned the features derived from the Danielian symbol into a new picture, and also in ch. 17 again presented them differently from ch. 8, must be shown by the explanation of the details, which has thus to seek a decision of the controversy of expositors.

ἐκ τῆς θαλάσσης . The ordinary exposition makes its work too easy by immediately allegorizing the rising of the beast from the sea: “The beast rose from the disordered life of this world which surges in an ungodly way, viz., from the sea of nations.” [3218] The proper representation of the visionary locality is so little respected by this, that even in the statement ἘΠῚ Τ . ἌΜΜΟΝ Τ . ΘΑΛ . , 12:18, a symbolical designation of numberless [3219] masses of people has been found. But as, e.g., Revelation 12:1 ; Revelation 12:3 , the ΟὐΡΑΝΌς , in which the woman and the dragon appear to the seer, signifies nothing else in a symbolical way than the expression declares, so in this passage, especially, nothing further is represented than that the first beast rises out of the sea, on whose visible shore the dragon had just placed himself, while the second beast is beheld in the vision coming from the actual earth (Revelation 13:11 ). But it is a further question as to whether a particular reference lies in this statement of place, which [3220] follows not so much from the symbol of Daniel 7:0 , and from Revelation 17:1 ; Revelation 17:5 , as rather from the parallelism of Revelation 13:11 , where the ἘΚ Τῆς Γῆς has in fact an inner relation (Revelation 13:12 ). It results also, in general, from the mutual connection of the two beasts, and especially from the analogy of the ἘΚ Τῆς Γῆς , that the ἘΚ Τῆς ΘΑΛΆΣΣΗς must have a similar relation. De Wette, therefore, is already in error, when he conjoins the rising out of the sea, and the coming out of the abyss (Revelation 11:7 , Revelation 17:8 ), as though the beast were designated by the ἘΚ Τ . ΘΑΛΆΣΣΗς as “a birth from the kingdom of darkness,” or even as one (Nero) returning from the realm of death. [3221] Ewald’s opinion, also, that the ἘΚ Τ . ΘΑΛ . designates the insular government of the Roman beast, [3222] is remote, and makes too much of an irrelevant point.

As the other beast rises from the earth, as from its own element and province, in order to corrupt the earth and those who dwell thereon, and to seduce to the worship of the first beast, so the first beast rises [3223] out of the sea, which surrounds the whole earth, in order to rule over all who dwell within the boundaries of its sphere, over the whole earth (Revelation 13:4 ), and all that dwell on the earth (Revelation 13:8 ), over all tribes and peoples (Revelation 13:7 ). The sea, whereby the earth itself is surrounded, appears in like manner as a more remote province of the first beast rising from the same, as this beast himself properly rules, and the second beast only serves him. The two beasts appear throughout, not as two rulers by the side of one another, as if possibly to the first belonged only the sea without the earth, and to the second, on the other hand, the earth; but the power and dominion over the whole earth are given the first beast; while the second beast works on the earth and upon its inhabitants, only in the service of the first. This relation expresses itself also in the fact that the first beast comes forth from the sea itself surrounding the earth. The analogy of the contrasted ἐκ τ . γῆς (Revelation 13:11 ) forbids us to regard the ἐκ τ . θαλάσσης as the sea of nations; [3224] but this mode of exposition cannot be justified by an appeal to Revelation 17:1 ; Revelation 17:15 , since there is no contrast in that passage between sea and earth; and, also, the sea is not once mentioned, but the ῦδατα πολλά , on which the harlot sits. The entire view there is thus different.

[3218] Victorin., Beda, Andr., C. a Lap., Coccej., Boss., Stern, Hengstenb., Ebrard, Klief., etc.; cf. also Grot.: “From the power of the empire,” so that “the public origin” of this beast is indicated in contrast with “the private origin” of the other. Beng.: “From Europe.”

[3219] Cf. Revelation 20:8 . Hengstenb.

[3220] Against Hammond and Eichh., who find only some sort of visionary locality designated.

[3221] Against De Wette (cf. also Volkm., Ew. ii.), it is asserted only that the expression ἐκ τῆς θαλάσσης does not give the idea of ἐκ τῆς αβύσσου . Independent of this is the opinion also defended by De Wette, that the beast from the abyss (Revelation 11:7 ) is essentially identical with the beast from the sea (Revelation 13:7 ); for that the different turns in the representation rest upon essentially the same foundation, is shown in ch. 17.

[3222] “Transmarine Rome, or that situated on the island of Italy.”

[3223] ἀναβαῖνον , pres., as Revelation 7:2 .

[3224] Hengstenb., Hofm., etc.


ἐχον κέρατα δέκα , κ . τ . λ . Hengstenb. properly emphasizes against Beng. the fact that the expression θηρίον has already in itself a bad secondary signification. The ζῶα [3225] could not be called θηρία . Already, in Daniel, [3226] the godless secular kingdoms appear in the forms of θηρία , and especially is the significant feature to be there [3227] observed, that just as the self-sufficient scorn of the Chaldaean king is punished by his brutalization, so, on the other hand, because of his repentance there were given to the beast, representing the Chaldaean empire, human feet and a human heart.

The more definite explanation of the θηρίον is afforded by what follows. [3228]

That John mentions first [3229] the ten horns, then the seven heads of the beast, otherwise than in the parallel Revelation 12:3 , could have its foundation in the fact, [3230] that at the rising of the beast the horns first became visible; but according to this consideration, it must be expected that then the further description, καὶ ἐπὶ τ . κερἁτων αὐτ . δέκα διαδ ., immediately connects with the κέρατα δέκα , and it would be written καὶ κεφαλὰς ἑπτὰ καὶ ἐπὶ τ . κεφ . αὐτ . ὁνομα βλασφ . As not only the order in which the ten horns and seven heads of the beast are mentioned, is different from that in the description of the dragon, who, nevertheless, in other respects bears essentially the same insignia, but the present description has in it something peculiar, in that here the ten diadems appear on the ten horns, while there (Revelation 12:3 ) the seven diadems appear on the seven heads of the dragon; the entire order in the particular points of the description, which also expresses something particular with respect to the heads of the beast, depends upon a deeper foundation, lying especially in the significance of the form of the beast. If it is denied that the θηρίον designates the precise form of the antichristian secular power which this has attained in the Roman Empire, [3231] the explanation of itself indicates arbitrary guessing: the ten horns and seven heads which are generally interpreted in reverse order may then be understood as representations of the seven periods of the world, and of a tenfold division of the government of the world; [3232] of the seven kings before the appearance of antichrist; [3233] of the seven secular powers, viz., the Egyptian, Assyrian, Chaldaean, Medo-Persian, Greek, Roman, and the final still future power with its ten divisions; [3234] of the seven persecutions of Christians; [3235] of the seven powers hostile to Christianity, corresponding to the seven periods of N. T. history, and of the seven small powers [3236] combined with antichrist. But even the expositors who have referred the θηρίον to Rome have not always been able to give a definite and intelligible meaning to the particular features of the Apocalyptic image. This applies not only to those to whom the essential tendency of ch. 13 [3237] appears to pertain to the Papacy, [3238] but also to those who properly abide by heathen Rome, as the form of the antichristian secular power contained within the horizon of the prophet. If, by a superficial comparison with Revelation 17:9 , the seven heads of the beast are interpreted of the seven hills of Rome, [3239] the explanation of the ten horns by “the ten servant kings” [3240] is manifestly utterly out of place; Ewald also, who refers the seven to the Roman emperors, and the ten to the prefects of the provinces, ignores the inner connection and essential relationship which exists already, according to Revelation 12:3 , between the seven heads and the ten horns.

The θηρίον , i.e., the antichristian, Roman secular power, in the service of the dragon, at the same time bears both the ten horns and seven heads; after this is first declared, a further description ( καὶ ἐπὶ τ . κερ ., κ . τ . λ .) follows, which, on the one hand, is assigned to the ten horns as that mark of royal dominion which in Revelation 12:3 appears on the seven heads of the dragon himself, and, on the other, so designates the heads that the blasphemous nature of the entire beast [3241] is illustrated. Yet, while in the description of the dragon, Revelation 12:3 , not only are the seven heads mentioned before the ten horns, but diadems also ascribed to the heads, but not to the horns, we find in this passage the opposite in both respects; for the subject here treated has respect to a signification of the concrete form of the Roman Empire, as this is proved by facts. Thus there appear, first of all, ten actual rulers; ten persons who, as the actual possessors of the government, are symbolized by the ten horns, each furnished with a diadem: (1) Augustus, (2) Tiberius, (3) Caligula, (4) Claudius, (5) Nero, (6) Galba, (7) Otho, (8) Vitellius, (9) Vespasian, (10) Titus. [3242] Yet the beast, like the dragon (Revelation 12:3 ), has only seven heads, not as though one of these heads bore all ten horns, or the horns were distributed inequally among the various heads, [3243] but seven heads bore each a coroneted horn, because, in seven of the persons of rulers mentioned, the actual full possession of the empire was found, while the three other coroneted horns are to be regarded rather between the two heads, and that, too, corresponding with the actual state of affairs between the fifth and sixth head, because these three horns represent those persons whose usurped power was not so much the true possession of the government, as rather a rebellion through which the government itself was in the highest degree endangered. [3244]

καὶ ἐπὶ τὰς κεφαλάς αὐτοῦ ὅνομα βλασφημίας . The sing. ὄνομα [3245] is not to be understood as though there were upon each of the seven heads a letter of the blasphemous name, and accordingly the entire name was found upon the seven heads taken together, as Züll. thinks, since he ascribes golden frontlets to the heads, and, as the beast is the antithesis to the High-Priest, the Messiah, conjectures such an inscription as there was on the frontlet of the high-priest, viz., the designation קדשֶׁ לִשָטָך , consisting of seven letters. But there is no need of such superficial determinations; the sing. is meant distributively, [3246] i.e., a name is to be regarded as on each of the seven heads, and that is always the same name of blasphemy, so that thus all the concrete embodiments of the Roman Empire, signified by the heads of the beast, appear as of the same blasphemous nature, as in Revelation 17:3 , also, the entire beast, symbolizing the Roman world-dominion, appears full of the names of blasphemy. But how the name of blasphemy stands on the seven heads, is neither to be asked nor to be answered. Bengel, in the sense of many expositors, calls the name “The Pope.” Hengstenb. improperly combines the names of blasphemy with the horns and crowns, as though one included the other, and thinks that the name belonging only to Christ (Revelation 19:16 ) is usurped by the beast as a blasphemous designation of his world-dominion. But the context [3247] affords only in general the idea that divine honor is ascribed in a blasphemous way to the beast, while a more definite name referring to this is not further expressed. Serving for the explanation of the subject, in this sense, is the remark already of Beda, although he does not mention Rome: “For they call their kings gods, as well those that have died and been transferred, as it were, to heaven and the gods, as those also still on earth, by the name Augusti , which is, as they wish, the name of deity.” [3248] See Introduction, p. 00. [3249] [Note LXX., p. 386.]

[3225] Revelation 4:6 sqq.

[3226] Revelation 7:1 sqq.

[3227] Daniel 7:4 ; cf. Daniel 4:28 sqq.

[3228] See, in general, on Revelation 13:18 .

[3229] See Critical Notes.

[3230] Beng., Hengstenb.

[3231] See what follows, especially Revelation 13:18 .

[3232] Andr.

[3233] C. a Lap.

[3234] Revelation 17:12 . Hengstenb., Ebrard, Auberlen.

[3235] Alcas.

[3236] Stern.

[3237] Cf. ch. 17.

[3238] Cf. Vitr., who designates as “the ordinary exposition of our writers” the view that the seven heads are seven rulers at Rome of diverse kinds, viz., kings, consuls, decemviri, military tribunes, dictators, emperors, popes; while the ten horns designate the ten kingdoms, which, according to Revelation 17:12 , are still future to John, and are to serve the Pope, of France, Spain, Germany, England, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary, Bohemia, Poland.

[3239] Victorin., Hammond, Grot., etc.

[3240] Hammond, Grot., etc.

[3241] Cf. Revelation 13:4 .

[3242] That the tenth, who corresponds to the seventh head, is still future, and that this one will have a successor who will actually be the last Roman ruler of the world, does not come here into discussion.

[3243] See on Revelation 12:3 .

[3244] Cf. Revelation 13:3 . Introduction, p. 48.

[3245] See Critical Notes.

[3246] De Wette; cf. Ewald, Hengstenb., etc.

[3247] Cf. Revelation 13:4 .

[3248] Cf. also Ewald, De Wette, Volkm., etc.

[3249] Details of various kinds also in Wieder-meister, Der Cäsarenwahnsinn , Hannover, 1875, p. 106, etc.


LXX. Revelation 13:1 sqq. θηρίον ἀναβαὶνον , κ . τ . λ .

On this crux interpretum , we will attempt only to summarize the results of the thoughtful and sober discussion of Gebhardt (“The Doctrine of the Apocalypse,” E. T., pp. 219 230), who constantly refers to, and often dissents from, Düsterdieck: There can be no doubt that the beast stands in the closest relation of nature to the dragon (cf. Revelation 13:1 , Revelation 17:3 ; Revelation 17:7 , with Revelation 12:3 ), and that the latter is, in the eye of the seer, the antigod, and the former the antichrist. But this antichrist is not a single person; for Revelation 13:1-2 , shows that the seer had in mind Daniel 7:2-7 . The beast is accordingly not a person, but an empire, and that, too, the latest and most extreme, reproducing in itself all earlier phases of the world’s enmity to God. Yet as the individual forms of world-power appear to the seer to culminate in an empire which he calls “the beast,” so he sees again the particular stages of the development of this empire, the individual rulers of the same culminate in one prince, whom he also describes as “the beast” (Revelation 17:10-11 ); as the leopard, the bear, and the lion are contained in the beast, so are the seven heads of the beast contained in the one head. As he sees in an individual king the nature of a definite empire, uniting in itself all earlier empires, personified, so also he sees unfolded in this empire the nature of that individual king. This empire could not have been any other than the one of John’s own times, the Roman Empire. [Farrar: “The Roman emperor could say with truth, ‘ L’état c’est moi .’ ”] The king must be Nero, and not Domitian, as Düsterdieck argues; “the one who is” of Revelation 17:10 being Galba, and not, as Düsterdieck holds, Vespasian. Düsterdieck’s historical application of the rebellio trium principum , the incertum et quasi vagum , and the foundation of a new dynasty by Vespasian, is also charged as being seriously at fault. On the details of the description, the sea is regarded as “the department of earthly movement and earthly occurrences, in distinction from the earth, as the department of earthly being and feeling,” i.e., the Roman Empire, “arises out of secular history;” “ the names of blasphemy ,” the titles by which Roman emperors appropriated to themselves divine honors, etc. The Nero-legend is rejected in the form that refers to his withdrawal and abode among the Parthians, “but in the eye of the seer, Nero lived, if we may call that a life, in the abyss; he went alive down to hell, and from hell would one day return.” Alford argues against any reference to an emperor, and conceives of the whole representation as signifying the Roman Empire personified; “the wounding of the head to death” (Revelation 13:3 ) being interpreted of the downfall of the pagan, and “the healing of the wound,” of the establishment of the Christian Empire.

Verse 2

Revelation 13:2 . That the description of the form of the beast has been developed from Daniel 7:4 sqq., is at once manifest; but it must not be overlooked, that the Apocalyptic portrayal of it has an essentially distinct conception and purpose. Daniel portrays four worldly kingdoms succeeding one another (the Chaldaean, Medan, Persian, and Greek), and that, too, in such a way that the forms of beasts which symbolize the first three kingdoms are not only like a lion, a bear, and a leopard, but also bear within themselves other significative marks, while the fourth worldly kingdom is represented under the form of a monster, not specifically determined, as, on the one hand, by the great iron teeth, the power of this kingdom, devouring and crushing all, and on the other, however, by the ten horns, beneath which again a small horn comes forth corruptibly, it is symbolized how Antiochus Epiphanes finally rises as the blasphemous usurper of the Greek Empire ruled by the ten kings successively. John, however, describes not four or more, but in any case one kingdom; whether he have in mind the undivided idea of the world-power in general, which has attained form in many concrete empires, from the Egyptian to the Roman of that time, [3250] or, without definite reference to the earlier empires, refer only to the present Roman. At all events, it is incorrect to mangle the undivided form of the beast, and to explain perhaps with Wetst., who inverts the order: “The mouth of the lion designates the greed and avarice of Galba; the form of the leopard, the inconsiderate rashness and inchastity of Otho; the feet of the bear, the ferocity and torpor of Vitellius.” But it is no less incorrect when Andreas so interprets the combined form of the beast that he refers the leopard, etc., to that definite kingdom which he understands by the beast in Daniel 7:0 , but in connection therewith attempts to preserve the unity of the idea by considering the antichrist, the coming ruler of the Roman Empire, as possessor at the same time of those three kingdoms; [3251] as it depends in general only upon an inaccurate combination with ch. 17, when in this passage the beast from the sea is regarded the antichrist himself, or his kingdom, in the sense that not the present Roman empire, but one not to be expected until the end of days, is to be understood; [3252] for the tendency of the entire statement of ch. 13 [3253] pertains not to the pure future, as though an antichristian efficacy of Satan and the worldly power in his service, as it will have place only at the end of days, were to be described, but the world-power already present, ruling over all in blasphemous pride and oppressing believers, [3254] appears here in a way that undoubtedly makes us recognize its antichristian nature as to how it stands in the service of Satan himself. This antichristian world-power, and that, too, in the definite appearance of the present Roman Empire,

John beholds in a form of a beast, whose threefold composition of the leopard, bear, and lion is to be explained as little in the sense of Daniel 7:0 , as the ten horns of Revelation 13:1 are to be combined with the fourth beast, which in Daniel bears this number of horns. [3255] Just as the ten coroneted horns (and the seven heads) serve only to designate a particular individuality of the Roman Empire symbolized by the entire form of beast, entirely apart from the fact that in Daniel a fourth empire is symbolized by a monstrous beast with ten horns, so also the combination of the Apocalyptic beast does not have the sense that, in the empire signified by this beast, either the definite empire [3256] of Daniel, or all empires in general, inclusive of the present Roman and the still future, [3257] i.e., the Germano-Slavic, [3258] appear combined, and accordingly the beast out of the sea signifies the world-power only abstractly; [3259] but, on the contrary, the form of a beast which is compared as a whole to the leopard, which is as rapid in its movements as it is strong, [3260] is furnished with feet like the paws of a bear, [3261] while its mouth is like the jaws of a lion, so that thus the entire monstrous beast, which unites in itself the most dreadful weapons of the strongest beasts, informs us of the rapacity and power of the Roman Empire displayed in the same. The special interpretation of particular features reaches too far, and is, therefore, arbitrary, as in Beda: ΠΆΡΔ . , “on account of the variety of nations;” [3262] ἌΡΚ . , “on account of spite and madness;” ΛΈ . , “on account of bravery of body and pride of tongue.”

[3250] Hengstenb., etc.

[3251] πάρδ . designates the Greek, ἄρκ . the Persian, λέ . the Babylonian empire: ὦν κρατησει ὁ Ἀντίχριστος ὡς Ρ ̓ ωμαίων βασιλεὐς ἐλευσόμενος

[3252] Against C. a Lap., Hofm., etc.

[3253] Cf. already ch. 12.

[3254] Which John, of course, considers to be such as is immediately judged and brought to naught by the coming of the Lord.

[3255] Against Züll., De Wette.

[3256] Andr., etc.

[3257] Hengstenb.

[3258] Auberlen.

[3259] “The ungodly world-power as a whole.”

[3260] Cf. Jeremiah 5:6 ; Hosea 13:7 ; Sir 28:23 , where, in order to illustrate dreadful strength, the leopard is compared with the lion and the wolf.

[3261] ὡς ἄρκ . Cf. Revelation 4:6 ; Revelation 4:8 . Var. Lect. Revelation 9:7-9 .

[3262] Cf. Grot.: “The leopard is an animal of various color; thus Roman Idolatry had as its gods, males, females, the greatest, the least,” etc. Coccejus: “Of various color. For to this beast belong Christiaus serving bishops, and yet constituting another source of faith, also Arians, Mussulmans, etc.” Vitr., etc.

καὶ ἔδωκεν , κ . τ . λ . Here is shown the reason why the dragon, who in Revelation 12:17 has entered into a conflict against believers, has come upon the shore of the sea (Rev. 12:18): he has called the beast from the sea in order to equip him with his own power, and thus to make him an instrument of his wrath. In what way the dragon accomplished this impartation, ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ , we dare not ask, since John does not declare it, for properly he does not attempt to state what is not made visible.

Worthy of notice is the inner relation of the three points, τὴν δύναμιν αὐτ ., τ . θρόνον αὐτ ., and ἐξουσίαν μεγάλην . The δύναμις imparted to the beast, which is expressly marked as diabolical ( δύν . αὐτού ), is shown in his power over freedom and life (Revelation 13:10 ), and the entire business of men (Revelation 13:17 ). But the dragon also, by giving his throne to the beast, invests it with a βασιλεία , so that now a throne can be ascribed to the beast himself (Revelation 16:10 ): hence the more definite view of the worldly dominion of the beast is here presented. Finally, the ἐξουσία μεγάλη [3263] designates the great, yet always definite and limited, plenitude of power, in order by the medium of that ΔΎΝΑΜΙς to work within the entire sphere of nature and to serve the purpose of the dragon.

[3263] Cf. Revelation 6:8 , Revelation 9:3 , Revelation 10:9 .

Verse 3

Revelation 13:3 . καὶ μίαν έκ τ . κεφ . With the accus., an express εἷδον is, indeed, not placed, [3264] but its idea results [3265] from the connection, since the ΕἿΔΟΝ , Revelation 13:1 , which is repeated besides in Revelation 13:2 , continues to be effective.

Ὡς ἘΣΦΑΓ . The Ὡς stands just as in Revelation 5:6 , only that in this passage the circumstance which explains how that one head bore the marks of an actual mortal wound, and yet could be represented like the rest in all the vigor of life, is expressly designated: ΚΑῚ ΠΛ . Τ . ΘΑΝ . ΑὐΤ . ἘΘΕΡΑΠΕΎΘΗ .

The more significant that is, which is said in Revelation 13:3 a. , and the more this special feature of the entire image of the beast from the sea is adapted thereto, in order to adjust and test the correct interpretation of the whole, the more certain, on the other hand, to become helpless here, is every exposition that misunderstands the image of the beast as a whole. Hengstenb., Ebrard, Auberlen, etc., who regard the θηρίον an image of the world-power in general, infer from Revelation 17:10 , with entire impropriety, that the head wounded unto death, and again healed, is the sixth , i.e., that whereby the Roman form of the world-power is symbolized. But although Hengstenb. further interprets that “by Christ’s atonement” a mortal wound is inflicted upon Roman worldly affairs and heathenism, a wound which, therefore, could appear as again healed, because the outward condition of the Roman Empire still continued, as John himself must have felt this ungodly power in his banishment to Patmos,

Ebrard and Auberlen prefer an interpretation expressly rejected by Hengstenb. They observe, that by the migration of nations the mortal wound was given the Roman Empire; but that this wound was healed, because a new “Roman Empire” had arisen, whose chief strength rests just in the Germanic nations. This Holy Roman Empire, however, appears as the sixth head of the beast, healed of its mortal wound, because its Christianity is secularized, ay, in all Christian appearance, often of a directly antichristian activity; viz., in the Papacy. But the Christian aspect of this form of the world-power is positively expressed in the fact that the head of the beast ( ὡς ἐσφαγμ .) bears in itself a certain resemblance to the Lamb ( Ὡς ἘΣΦΑΓΜ . , Revelation 5:6 ). The mode of exposition thus reverts in essentials to the old Protestant; only that this was the more correct, so far as it did not acknowledge the vague significance of the ΘΗΡΊΟΝ of the world-power in the abstract, but understood it as a definite reference to Rome. Thus Calov., in dependence on Luther, explains “ ‘the beast wounded,’ most correctly, of the Roman Empire, harassed by the invasions of the barbarians, who for more than three centuries wounded, devastated, and held Rome, so that, during that whole time, there was no Western emperor. It was also healed by the medical aid of Charlemagne and Leo III.” Coccejus understood the head as the Grecian part of the Roman Empire: “In this part the beast received a fatal wound when Julian restored the worship of the gods.” The ἘΘΕΡΑΠΕΎΘΗ is interpreted: “Julian was removed, and Jovian, the Catholic, succeeded him.” Phil. Nicolai referred the wounding to the dominion of seven hundred years by the Moors in Spain; the healing, to the expulsion of the enemy by King Ferdinand. Most consistently Vitringa explains that the mortal wound is the humiliation of Pope Alexander 13 by the Emperor Frederick in the year 1160, and that the healing is the humiliation of the Emperor by the Pope in the year 1177: [3266] on the other hand, Bengel, with his far-reaching interpretation, [3267] stands already nearer the moderns, as Ebrard and Auberlen. But the former, as well as the latter, interpretation is rejected both by the connection of ch. 12 [3268] and by the particular points in Revelation 13:1-2 The ΘΗΡΊΟΝ is just as certainly not the abstract world-power, as the seven heads are not particular “phases of the world-power,” but kings, and that, too, Roman kings. Besides this, the quid pro quo which is ascribed to the writer of the Apocalypse, by representing him as describing the Holy Roman Empire as the empire of heathen Rome which has been again revived, is compatible neither with historical truth nor with a sound conception of biblical prophecy. In both respects, it is impossible to regard an historical development, which is dependent upon the Christian element, and which in all its unchristian and antichristian deterioration yet remains in its entire course Christian, and has produced truly holy fruit, as a head of this beast of the dragon. The only indication in the text, which apparently supports such a misconception, Auberlen, etc., have found in the expression ὡς ἘΣΦΑΓΜ . , as, from the comparison of Revelation 5:6 , they have inferred that thereby there is ascribed to the healed head a Christian, i.e., an apparently Christian, life and nature. But supposing, what does not necessarily lie in the expression, that a significant contrast were intended between the Lamb standing there as slain, and the head of the beast wounded, as it were, to death: is it, then, not much more correct to explain, as Victorin. already has done, [3269] viz., that the person represented by the head wounded and again healed is to be regarded as a pretended Christ in whom the sufferings and resurrection of the Lord appear to be imitated?

[3264] Against the false Rec.

[3265] Cf. Revelation 4:4 .

[3266] As a new interpretation, Vitr. proposes. “The first five fallen (Revelation 17:10 ) heads are five distinguished popes before the Reformation: Gregory VII., Alexander III., Innocent III., Boniface VIII., John XXII.; after the Reformation follow Paul III., Paul VIII., and finally the eighth, still future Pope, who shall put to death Christ’s witnesses” (Revelation 11:7 ).

[3267] “You may see the paroxysms both of wounding and healing in the history of Gregory VII., Paschal II., Calist II., Alexander III., and others. Whatever adversity then happened is wounding; and whatever prosperity, healing.”

[3268] Auberlen has, indeed, found the migration of nations in Revelation 12:15 sqq.

[3269] “This one, therefore, viz., Nero, being raised, God will send as a king worthy of the worthy, and a Messiah such as the Jews have merited.” Cf. Beda: “Antichrist, pertaining to the heads of the earthly kingdom, in imitation of our true Head, professes to have risen again, an though having been slain , and presents himself for men’s reception, instead of Christ, who truly did this.” In like manner, Zeger, C. a Lap., etc.

If we turn from such explanations as do not need a special refutation, [3270] that of Victorin. is first presented, which, being brought again to notice by Corrodi [3271] and Eichhorn, has been of late resolutely defended by Lücke, De Wette, Bleek, Baur, Volkmar, Hilgenf., E. Renan, etc [3272] The Roman historians of the report bruited shortly after Nero’s death, that he was still living, and would again appear, [3273] are quoted. This opinion, which was current especially in Asia, [3274] is recognized by the writer of the Apoc.; and two circumstances concur, which seem to greatly urge the explanation from that fancy of the enigmatical discourse concerning the head of the beast wounded to death, and again healed. On the one hand, it has penetrated Christian literature, viz., the Apocalyptic: [3275] on the other hand, it appears to give a definite explanation of Revelation 17:8 , and the one best harmonizing with Revelation 13:3 , viz., that Nero, slain by his own hand, appears returning from the abyss of hell, and working again as the living antichrist.

But against this mode of exposition it is to be remarked: (1) The writer of the Apocalypse in no way betrays such impurity and limitation of faith and Christian culture, that without injustice a superstition dare be ascribed to him which the Roman authors already had derided. [3276] In any case, if John subscribed to that illusion, nothing more could any longer be said concerning a truly prophetical character of the Apoc., dependent upon inspiration, and concerning its canonical authority. [3277] (2) In reference to Revelation 17:8 , [3278] it must be mentioned already here, how difficult it is by the ΘΗΡΊΟΝ which is there described, to understand Nero alone, who is symbolized, just as in ch. 13, by one of the seven heads of the beast. (3) But it is also in the highest degree doubtful whether the Nero-myth were current already at the close of the first century, as they try to find it in John: on the contrary, unmistakable traces indicate that the original Nero-myth received the form in which it is now by an anachronism, regarded as utilized in the Apoc. only by combining with it misunderstood passages like Revelation 13:3 ; Revelation 17:8 , and 2 Thessalonians 2:3 sqq. Sueton., Tacit., and Dio Chryst. by no means say that it was their opinion that the actually dead Nero had returned from the lower regions to life; but they report [3279] that it was not properly known in what way Nero had died, and that, therefore, [3280] the report originated that he was not at all dead, but had escaped to the Parthians, and would return to take vengeance on his enemies. So it stands in the sibylline books, where Nero appears as a fugitive, [3281] who is to return from the ends of the earth, his temporary place of refuge. [3282] That this Nero-myth was diffused among Christians by the authority of the sibylline books, is attested by Lactantius, who explains it not only as madness, but also indicates its natural origin: [3283] “Cast down, therefore, from the head of the government, and fallen from its summit, the impotent tyrant suddenly was nowhere present, so that a place not even of burial might appear on earth for so wicked a beast. Whence some madmen believe that he has been translated and reserved alive, the sibyl saying that the fugitive matricide shall come from the ends of the earth,” etc. Therefore Lactantius also knows nothing, as yet, of a resurrection and return of the dead Nero, but he has in view the faith of some madmen, supported by the sibylline books, that the still living Nero had found a refuge somewhere at the ends of the earth, whence he will return as a precursor of the antichrist. [3284] But this superstition, still diffused at his time, Lact. regards so senseless, because thereby a life a century long must be presupposed to Nero; while the entire fable could be explained without difficulty, from the fact that the grave of Nero was unknown, an explanation which is proved to be right, inasmuch as Nero was actually buried with the greatest silence. [3285] In Lactantius, therefore, the Nero-myth, designated as senseless, does not have the form in which they want to find it presented by the writer of the Apoc.

Augustine is the first to testify to the existence of the expectation that Nero would arise from the dead, and return as antichrist, since he expressly remarks that this form of the myth, by the side of the older, has resulted from an interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 sqq. that is as bold as it is perverted: [3286] “Some think that this [3287] was said of the Roman Empire, as his declaration, ‘The mystery of iniquity doth already work,’ he wanted to be understood of Nero, whose deeds seemed as though of antichrist. Whence some suspect that he will rise again, and be the antichrist . But others think that he was not slain, but rather had withdrawn so as to be regarded slain, and was concealed alive in the vigor of the age, in which he was when he was believed to have died, until he would be revealed at his own time, and be restored to the government. But to me such presumption of those thinking these things is very wonderful.” In this connection, also, Augustine does not mention the Apoc. [3288] This is done by Sulp. Severus, [3289] who, however, does not combine the myth of the revivification of the dead Nero with Revelation 13:3 , but under the presumption that Nero had actually committed suicide [3290] records the entirely peculiar turn to the matter: It is believed that the wound which Nero inflicted upon himself was healed, and that he still lives, and at the end of the world will return as antichrist. The complete form of the myth is given first by Victorin., who expressly says that the actually deceased Nero would be again raised by God, and be sent as the pseudo-Messiah for judgment upon the ungodly; but Victorin.’s own words [3291] betray the origin of the myth thus fashioned, in the same way as Augustine [3292] testifies to the origin of another application of the myth from 2 Thessalonians 2:0 . It cannot, therefore, in any way be asserted upon an historical basis, that the writer of the Apocalypse, when he represents one of the heads of the beast as wounded to death and again healed, depends upon an idea current at his time, concerning the return of Nero raised from the dead, for such an idea does not belong as yet to his time, but it must be asserted that the writer of the Apoc. has himself fashioned this manner of expressing the Nero-myth. No one, however, has ventured this.

[3270] Grot. on ὡς ἐσφ .: “The Capitol was burned while the Vitellians and Flavians warred with one another.”

ἒθεραπ .: “For the same Vespasian restored the Capitol, who also restored the Roman Empire, and, indeed, with great pomp of idolatry.” Züllig, who in Revelation 13:18 finds the name of Balaam: “Balaam, slain as anti-Moses, now has returned to life, with seven heads, as the anti-Messiah, as the one for whom he will now be regarded returned from death to life.”

[3271] Krit. Gesch. des Chiliasmus , Zür., vol. ii., p. 308 sqq.

[3272] Der Antichrist , Germ. ed., Leipz. and Paris, 1873, p. 278.

[3273] Tacit., Hist. , ii. Revelation 8 : “About the same time, Achaia and Asia were terrified by a false rumor, as though Nero were approaching, and a fluctuating rumor concerning his death, the majority, on this account, thinking and believing that he was alive.” Cf. Sueton., Nero , 100:57; Dio Chrys., Or. , xxi., ed. Reiske., T. I., p. 504.

[3274] So that a false Nero, who availed himself of this in a remarkable way, found a following among the Parthians. Sueton., l. c.; Tacit., Hist. , i. Revelation 2 : “War also with the Parthians, near at hand, was stirred up by the farce of the pretended Nero.”

[3275] Sibyll. Orac. , ed. Serv. Gall., L. VIII., p. 688: ὅταν γʼ ἐπανέλθη ἑχ περάτων γαἱης ὁ φυγἀς μητροκτόνος ἐλθών [“When the matricide fugitive returns from the opposite part of the earth”]. Cf. p. 716; L. V., p. 547; Sulp. Sev., Hist. , s., L. II., Opp. ed.; G. Hom., Lugd. Bat. , 1647, p. 373: “Certainly his body, viz., that of Nero, was slain; whence it is believed, that, although he pierced himself with the sword, yet that he was restored by the healing of his wound, as it is written of him: And the stroke of his death was healed, in order that he might be seut at the end of the world to exercise the mystery of iniquity.”

[3276] Dio Chryst., l. c.: τρόπον τινὰ οὐχ ἅπαξ αὐτοῦ τεθνηκότος , ἀλλὰ πολλάκις μετὰ τῶν σφόδρα οἰηθέντων αὐτον ζῇν .

[3277] This statement is not based on a narrow-minded conception of the canon (Volkm.), but asserts the demands which justice and cautious piety make of exegetes. The Apoc., with respect to its other contents, stands so high that it is utterly impossible that it should advance any superstitious statement directly contradictory to the simplest Christian faith and thought (also against Weiss., p. 34). But if it be exegetically proved that this is nevertheless the case, it appears necessary to surrender the deutero-canonical authority of the book. But, in spite of all its dazzling appearance, the exegesis of Volkm., as well as of Ewald, etc., is on this point incorrect.

[3278] See on the passage.

[3279] Cf. especially Dio Chryst., l. c.: καί οὕτως ἀπέστησαν ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἠνάγκασαν ὄτῳ ποτὲ τρόπῳ ἀπολέσθαι αὐτόν · οὑδέπω γὰρ καὶ νῦν τοῦτό γε δῆλόν ἐστιν [“And thus they stood aloof from him, and urged the question in what way he had died; for this even now was not as yet manifest”].

[3280] Cf. Tacit., l. c.

[3281] φυγάς , L. VIII., 13:71; ed. Friedlieb, φεύγων , L. V., 13:364.

[3282] In the same sense also is the passage, L. V., 13:33, to be understood. ἔσται καὶ ἅϊστος ὀλοίϊος , εἶτʼ ἀνακάμψει , where Gallaeus (“will utterly be destroyed”) and Friedlieb (“the pernicious vanishes away”) mistranslate the ἄϊστος . It is said only that the pernicious one, i.e., Nero, will become invisible, viz., by flight, but will return. It is altogether a perversion when the sibylline expressions concerning the return of Nero are compared with the Apoc., in order to make a Nero redivivus acceptable here; for in the sibylline books the chief matter is lacking, as, e.g., Hilgenf. himself acknowledges ( Zeitschr. f. Wiss. Th. , 1871, p. 39. Cf. also, 1869, p. 421 sqq.).

[3283] De Mort. Persec. , c. 2.

[3284] “A precursor of the devil, and going before him as he comes to devastate the earth, and overthrow the human race.”

[3285] Eutrop., Hist. Rom. vii. Revelation 18 : “The remains of Nero, which were buried in a humble way.”

[3286] De Civ. D. , L. XX., c. 19, § 3.

[3287] l. c., Revelation 13:7 .

[3288] That Nero had sometimes been regarded the antichrist of Daniel, because of his persecution of the Christians (Jerome on Daniel 11:28 : “Whence many of our writers think that because of the greatness of his cruelty and baseness, the Domitian Nero would be antichrist”), does not belong here.

[3289] l. c.

[3290] Etiamsi se gladis transfixit .

[3291] Nanc ergo caetera .

[3292] l. c.

Any other explanation of Revelation 13:3 is therefore hardly possible, than that indicated already in the Introduction. [3293] By a combination with Revelation 17:8-11 , the result is attained that the mortal wound cannot be referred to the sixth, [3294] but must be referred to the fifth, head of the beast. This is correctly acknowledged by Ewald, Lücke, De Wette, etc., as they are further right in accounting Nero as the last of the fallen kings. But to proceed from this to the interpretation of Revelation 13:3 , advocated by Ewald, Lücke, etc., which is proved to be just as untenable, is not only not demanded by Revelation 17:8-11 , but is prohibited, because it is not said there that the fifth fallen king, i.e., Nero, would return as the eighth, but that the future eighth would be the personified beast himself. But of this nothing whatever is said in ch. 13; it is not once to be perceived from ch. 13 that an eighth king is at all to be expected, so that this point (Revelation 17:11 ) is not in any way to be introduced into Revelation 13:3 . The healing of the mortal wound certainly cannot, therefore, refer to one of the heads of the beast (the fifth), as it is neither said in ch. 17, nor agrees with the statement in Revelation 13:3 , that the fifth fallen (deceased) king will return as the eighth. On the contrary, the healing of the mortal wound on the fifth head of the beast must correspond to that which is stated in ch. 17, so that the beast is not, and yet is; viz., it is in so far as the sixth king is. The existence of the sixth king is the healing of the mortal wound on the fifth head, whose infliction caused the beast not to be, and whose healing again caused the beast, nevertheless, to be. Thus ch. 17 gives the riddle, and ch. Revelation 13:3 the clew whereby the riddle is solved. The mortal wound is inflicted upon the (fifth) head of the beast, and the interregnum immediately succeeding. It is to be observed, that it is not at all said that the coroneted horn on the (fifth) head was stricken off, and grew again, this would attach the idea expressly to the person of Nero, and correspond with the opinion of Ewald, Lücke, De Wette, and Volkm., but that, in accordance with the distinction between the heads and the horns (cf. Revelation 13:1 ), the idea of the Roman Empire, so far as it was under the Emperor Nero, is expressed [3295] This empire, designated by the fifth head of the beast, received a mortal wound when Nero, the bearer of the empire, and the last of the race of the Caesars which had founded the empire, committed suicide, and that, too, under the compulsion of the rebellion of a usurper (Galba), who, as little as his two successors (Otho, Vitellius), could in any way be regarded the restorer of the empire which was destroyed with Nero. The healing of that mortal wound did not ensue until Vespasian, the founder of a new dynasty, restored the empire, as its actual possessor, to its ancient strength and vitality. Thus, at the foundation of the prophetical enigmatical discourse of the writer of the Apoc. concerning the beast wounded to death and again restored, concerning the three coroneted horns which, nevertheless, do not stand upon particular heads (Revelation 13:1 ), and concerning the beast which is not and yet is, there lies the same historical view which is declared by the Roman historians, in their representation of the threefold regency between the death of Nero and the accession of Vespasian, only as a sad interregnum. [3296]

[3293] p. 47 sq.

[3294] Hengstenb., Auberlen.

[3295] Volkm. urges that in Revelation 13:3 , it is not said that the beast was wounded on its head, etc. But what in Revelation 13:3 he is wrong in omitting, is correctly said in Revelation 13:12 .

[3296] Sueton., l. c.; Dio Cass., Hist. Rom. , ed. J. Leuncl., Hannov., 1606, p. 7353.

Verses 3-4

Revelation 13:3 b , Revelation 13:4 . καὶ ἐθαύμασεν

ὀπίσω τοῦ θηρίου . The pregn. construction gives the view as to how the astonishment at the succession is occasioned. [3297] Beng. also shows how this expression is supported historically: in the crucifixion, e.g., this prophecy is fulfilled.

The amazement of the whole earth for thus far the dominion of the beast extends (Revelation 13:2 ) may be referred especially to what is said in Revelation 13:3 a ; for the worship of the dragon, as also of the beast equipped by him, that which results from Revelation 13:2 b is expressly attached as the reason. But not only is the προσκυνεῖν on the part of the inhabitants of the earth [3298] a robbery, which, in the service of the dragon and his beast, they perpetrate on the one true God, but even the phraseology in which they express their worship [3299] seems like a blasphemous parody of the praise with which the O. T. Church celebrated the incomparable glory of the living God. [3300] [See Note LXXI., p. 387.] And if the inhabitants of the earth declare further καὶ τίς δύναται , κ . τ . λ ., back of this challenging and triumphing question lies concealed the desire that, in compliance with the purpose of the dragon, [3301] they might begin the conflict with those who do not worship the beast (cf. Revelation 13:7 ).

[3297] Cf. Acts 5:37 ; Acts 20:30 . Grot., Züll., De Wette, etc.

[3298] Cf. Revelation 13:8 ; Revelation 3:10 .

[3299] Coccejus feels the difficulty of carrying out here his interpretation of the θηρίον ; for, if the θηρίον is the papacy, it appears objectionable to represent its adherents as worshippers of the dragon. But he says: “In word, it is true, they praised God and Christ, who had given such power to the Church; but in fact, because it was not the Church, but a beast, and the worldly power which he claimed for himself was power conceded by the dragon transforming himself into an angel of light, he whom they adored was the dragon.”

[3300] Cf. Isaiah 40:25 ; Isaiah 44:7 ; Isaiah 46:5 ; Psalms 35:10 ; Psalms 103:5 ; Micah 7:8 ; Coccej., Ewald.

[3301] Revelation 12:17 .


LXXI. Revelation 13:4 . Τίς ὅμοιος τῷ θηρίῳ

Gebhardt: “The seer observes what an imposing, overpowering, transporting impression the Roman Empire exercises upon men; how the world is astonished at it; that it is amazed by its greatness, power, and glory, and does homage to it; how the world worships the dragon, because he has given power to the beast, that is, not consciously worshipping the devil, but perceiving, in imperial power, and in its individual possessors, supposed manifestations of the divine, it really gives divine honors to the devil.” Carpenter: “The spirit of the wild beast is adored wherever worldliness prevails. There is nothing so successful as success, and the homage of men is more often paid to power than to principle. ‘Can you not hear the words coming across the centuries from the lips of two Roman youths, talking with each other as they lounge about the Forum?’ (Maurice.) Can we not hear the echo of the words in the Champs Elysées, in Piccadilly, in the Broadway, or Unter den Linden , from the lips of young men who have taken fashion, rank, wealth, world-power in any shape, as their god?”

Verses 5-7

Revelation 13:5-7 . As the conception of the form of the beast in general (Revelation 13:1-2 ) is conditioned by the Danielian prototype, so also the individual chief features which describe the activity of the beast are in conformity with what Daniel says of antichrist. Not only the schematical determination of time for the antichristian activity of the beast, forty-two months, [3302] is derived from Daniel 7:25 ; Daniel 12:7 ; but also the characteristic representation of the presumptuous, blasphemous speech, [3303] and of his conflict with the saints, [3304] makes the beast appear in the same way as the concretion of the antichristian world-power withstanding the N. T. communion of saints, as in Daniel’s view Antiochus Epiphanes arrayed himself against the O. T. Church. But Züll. finds incorrectly also in 7 b an analogy with Daniel 7:14 , in that the sense that what is there ascribed to Christ, is here declared concerning the antichristian universal monarchy of the beast, as the contrary of the Messiah; for the ἐξουσία of the beast, i.e., the definite supreme power thereof, adapted to its position and task, corresponds neither to the kingly glory over all nations granted to the Son of man, [3305] nor to his peculiar ἐξουσία , which, as the βασιλεία itself, is marked as one that is eternal. [3306] The ἘΔΌΘΗ , Revelation 13:5 ; Revelation 13:7 , [3307] which refers to the ultimate ground of divine authority, contains for believers a consolatory determination which belongs to the ἜΔΩΚΕΝ , Revelation 13:2 ; for only in accordance with God’s order can the dragon equip his beast, and only within the limits fixed by God can the beast work in virtue of the ἘΞΟΥΣΊΑ ascribed to him.

ΣΤΌΜΑ ΛΑΛΟῦΝ ΜΕΓΆΛΑ ΚΑῚ ΒΛΑΣΦΗΜΊΑς . The supercilious speaking of great things is already in itself the testimony of an egotistic boasting of one despising the living God, and then becomes openly blasphemous when the presumptuous speeches have such definite reference to God as is expressed, e.g., in Revelation 13:6 ; cf. also the declaration put, in Revelation 13:4 , into the mouth of the adherents of the beast. The historical foundation for the description, Revelation 13:5 a , is formed by the declarations repeated in various ways, in which Roman insolence not only ascribed to itself absolute dominion over the world, but also expressly gave divine names and divine honor to the city, the empire, and the emperor. [3308]

ΠΟΙῆΣΑΙ . In the following accus., the express object to ΠΟΙῆΣΑΙ may be found, [3309] and with Luther, Ewald, etc., the explanation may be rendered: Power was given him to bring in forty-two months besides; viz., in the manner described in Revelation 13:5 a . But this mere determination of time appears too circumstantial for the Apoc.; hence it is explained better by Vitr., Züll., De Wette, Hengstenb., etc., after the analogy of Daniel 8:24 ; Daniel 11:28 ; Daniel 11:30 ; Daniel 11:32 ; Psalms 37:5 , where the ποιεῖν likewise occurs without any express designation of the object: power was given him to work , to ply his business, for forty-two months. In connection with this it is to be observed, [3310] that thus the two parts of Revelation 13:5 briefly designate what is more fully described in Revelation 13:6 (cf. Revelation 13:5 a ) and Revelation 13:7 (cf. Revelation 13:5 b ).

The prefixed βλασφημίας πρὸς τὸν θεόν (Revelation 13:6 ) is more definitely specialized in a threefold way, to which already the plural ΒΛΑΣΦΗΜΊΑς ΠΡ . Τ . Θ . , which is here certain, points, viz., first , βλασφημῆσαι τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ , whereby is designated the calumniation directed immediately against God himself, which is especially fulfilled by the beast usurping for himself the divine names and honor; secondly , καὶ τὴν σκηνὴν αὐτοῦ , i.e., as it is also made manifest from the following words, [3311] heaven, which, as God’s tabernacle, is an object of the blasphemous speeches of the beast; and, finally , καὶ τοὺς ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ σκηνοῦντας , because it is God’s gracious work, that he has opened heaven as his tabernacle for those who now dwell with him therein. The two last kinds of blasphemy are mediate, but they have place just as certainly as the world-power, represented by the beast, speaks only with mockery of that which was to believers the home towards which their entire hope was directed; and accordingly the world-power stood in opposition to the inexhaustible source of their consolation and patience.

ΠΌΛΕΜΟΝ ΠΟΙῆΣΑΙ ΜΕΤᾺ Τ . ἉΓ . To the instrument of the dragon it is given on God’s part to fulfil what the dragon had in mind when he prepared the beast. [3312]

ΚΑῚ ΝΙΚῆΣΑΙ ΑὐΤΟΎς ; viz., in so far as the saints must succumb to the power of the beast, and suffer imprisonment, banishment, death, and all kinds of ΘΛῖΨΙς . [3313] Besides, it is just in this that the true victory of saints consists. [3314]


ἜΘΝΟς . Ewald, by determining the ἘΞΟΥΣΊΑ according to the measure of what immediately precedes, [3315] reaches the erroneous conception that the ἘΠῚ ΠᾶΣ . ΦΥΛῊΝ , Κ . Τ . Λ . , is to be referred to Christians [3316] But the expression designates, by its four specifications, [3317] the entire number of the inhabitants of the earth who easily appear in opposition to the saints; hence the ἘΞΟΥΣΊΑ ἘΠῚ ΠΑΣ . ΦΥΛῊΝ , Κ . Τ . Λ . , is the great and sovereign power [3318] which is granted to the beast with his empire. Because of this ἘΞΟΥΣΊΑ he is in a position to war victoriously against the saints. But as in Revelation 13:5 a , so also here, where there is a definitive designation of the ἐξουσία on which the entire dreadful activity of the beast depends, the consolatory thought lies in the background, that even though the supreme power, which the dragon has given (Revelation 13:2 ) to the beast, is so great that it extends over the whole world, yet it is at last only by the Divine bestowment, and therefore beneath the Divine order and limitation, that the beast possesses, and can exercise, his ἐξουσία .

[3302] Cf. Revelation 11:2 , Revelation 12:14 .

[3303] στόμα λαλοῦν μεγάλα κ . βλασφ . Cf. Daniel 7:8 ; Daniel 7:20 ; Daniel 7:25 .

[3304] Cf. Daniel 7:21 .

[3305] καἰ ἐδόθη αὐτῷ ἡ ἀρχὴ καὶ ἡ τιμὴ καὶ ἡ βασιλεια , καὶ πάντες οἱ λαοὶ φυλαὶ καὶ γλῶσσαι αὐτῷ δουλεύσουσιν .

[3306] ἡ ἐξ . αὐτοῦ ἐξουσία αἱώνιος , ἥτις οὑ παρελεύσεται , κ . τ . λ .

[3307] Cf. Revelation 6:4 ; Revelation 6:8 , Revelation 7:2 , Revelation 9:5 .

[3308] Cf. Introduction, p. 51.

[3309] Cf. Act 15:33 ; 2 Corinthians 11:25 ; James 4:13 .

[3310] Vitr., Hengstenb.

[3311] Cf. Revelation 21:3 .

[3312] Cf. Revelation 12:17 , Revelation 13:2 .

[3313] Cf. Revelation 11:7 .

[3314] Cf. Revelation 12:11 , Revelation 2:10 sq.

[3315] “It is allowed to perpetrate this slaughter throughout all lands and nations.”

[3316] “From the nature of the topic and thought, it is apparent that only Christians dwelling everywhere throughout the world are to be here understood.”

[3317] Cf. Revelation 5:9 , Revelation 11:9 , Revelation 14:6 , Revelation 17:15 .

[3318] Also Ew. ii.

Verse 8

Revelation 13:8 . καὶ προσκυνήσουσιν αὐτὸν , κ . τ . λ . Notwithstanding א ( αὐτῷ ), undoubtedly the correct reading, αὐτόν , cannot be explained by the reference to the king, of the masc. in which the beast itself, Revelation 17:11 , appears personified; [3319] for that entirely special idea must be definitely indicated within ch. 13 if without any thing further it is thus to be diverted. The ΑὐΤΌΝ pertains, however, to the chief subject ΔΡΆΚΩΝ . The worship of the dragon is here mentioned immediately after the description of the beast, for the same reason as Revelation 13:4 in connection with Revelation 13:3 ; the more mightily the instrument of the dragon is presented to the inhabitants of the earth, the more naturally they come to the adoration of that which itself only serves the beast. Corresponding with this is also the future form ΠΡΟΣΚΥΝΉΣΟΥΣΙΝ . [3320] As the activity of the beast, according to its decisive part, still impends, [3321] so also the adoration of the dragon occasioned thereby.

Οὖ Οὐ ΓΈΓΡΑΠΤΑΙ Τ . ὌΝ . ΑὐΤΟῦ . The sing. of the relative, [3322] to which, according to the Hebraic way, the demonstr. is added, [3323] is explained [3324] by the presentation of the details which are comprised in the entire ΚΑΤΟΙΚ . ἘΠῚ Τ . Γ .

ἘΝ Τῶ ΒΙΒΛΊῼ , Κ . Τ . Λ . Without doubt, [3325] the concluding clause ἈΠῸ ΚΑΤΑΒΟΛῆς ΚΌΣΜΟΥ belongs to ΓΈΓΡΑΠΤΑΙ , [3326] not to the ἘΣΦΑΓΜΈΝΟΥ , as neither the explanation of the eternal predestination of the death of Christ, [3327] nor that of the sufferings of Christ in his people from Abel on, [3328] agrees with the expression and the connection of this passage. The characteristic of the inhabitants of the earth, in contrast with the saints refusing to worship the dragon, contains already, in the most pregnant manner, all the points upon which the patience of the saints expressly emphasized immediately afterwards, Revelation 13:10 , depends. Those who worship the Lamb slain, of course, must suffer persecution; but just to the Lamb slain belongs the book of life, [3329] in which from eternity the names of believers are written: they, therefore, like the Lamb, conquer by their victory, [3330] and through all ΘΛῖΨΙς pass to the glory of eternal life, [3331] while the enemy, in spite of his temporary victory, [3332] incurs sure judgment. [See Note LXXII., p. 387.]

[3319] Hengstenb.

[3320] Cf., on the other hand, Revelation 13:4 .

[3321] Cf. Revelation 13:7 , where it is first given the beast, on God’s part, what it is to do.

[3322] See Critical Notes.

[3323] Revelation 3:8 , Revelation 12:6 ; Revelation 12:14 .

[3324] De Wette.

[3325] Cf. Revelation 17:8 .

[3326] Hammond, Beng., Heinr., Ewald, Züll., De Wette, Hengstenb.

[3327] 1 Peter 1:20 ; Beda, Eichh.

[3328] Cf. C. a Lap.

[3329] Revelation 3:5 .

[3330] Cf. Revelation 3:21 .

[3331] Cf. Revelation 7:14 .

[3332] Revelation 13:7 .

Verses 9-10

Revelation 13:9-10 . This consolatory assurance is expressly urged as one extremely important. [3333]

ΕἼ ΤΙς ΕἸς ΑἸΧΜΑΛΩΣΊΑΝ , ΕἸς ΑἸΧΜΑΛΩΣΊΑΝ . The jus talionis is exercised by the righteous judgment of God. [3334] The brevity of the elliptical expression corresponds very well with the immutability of the strict sentence, in case the second ΕἸς ΑἸΧΜΑΛΩΣΊΑΝ stands without further definition. [3335]

On the two kinds of persecution, cf. Revelation 2:10 ; Revelation 2:13 , Revelation 6:10 , Revelation 11:7 . Volkm. regards the threat of the sword as directed against Nero. But how is it conceivable if Revelation 13:3 refers, according to Volkmar’s interpretation, to Nero?

ὠδε ἐστι ἡ ὑπομονή , κ . τ . λ . The formula ὦδε ἐστιν is in itself so indefinite that it can express both gradations of the idea: “Here must the patience, the wisdom, [3336] of believers be displayed,” [3337] and “Here patience is present, here lies its foundation and source.” In this passage, and Revelation 14:12 , the latter idea results from the connection; by the ὠδε , κ . τ . λ ., an allusion is made to what has just been said, Revelation 13:10 , yea already in Revelation 13:8 ; viz., to that in which the patience of the saints consists, who by their faith lay hold of that divine consolation. Otherwise, Revelation 13:18 ; Revelation 17:9 .

[3333] Revelation 13:9 . Cf. Revelation 2:7 ; Revelation 2:11 .

[3334] Cf. Revelation 18:6 , Revelation 19:2 .

[3335] ὑπάγει , Revelation 17:8 . See Critical Notes.

[3336] Revelation 13:18 ; Revelation 17:9 .

[3337] De Wette, Hengstenb.


LXXII. Revelation 13:8 . ἀπὸ κατβαολῆς κόσμου

In favor of the translation in our A. V., is the distance of this clause from the γέγραπται . 1 Peter 1:19-20 , John 17:24 , are sometimes cited as supporting “slain from the foundation;” but the shade of meaning there expressed is different. Revelation 17:8 seems to be decisive in favor of the construction advocated by Düsterdieck; and it has, on the basis of this passage, been adopted by the American section of the committee on the R. V.

Verses 11-17

Revelation 13:11-17 . The second beast, which John sees rising from the earth, is described as an accomplice of the first beast; by deceitful speeches and miraculous signs, he leads astray the inhabitants on earth to the worship of the beast from the sea.

That this second θηρίον which appears in this form from the beginning as essentially related to the first beast [3338] is a personification of false prophecy, is correctly recognized already by Irenaeus. [3339] John himself gives this interpretation, Revelation 16:13 , Revelation 19:20 , Revelation 20:10 . But from the connection with Revelation 13:1-10 , the more restricted determination results, that the subject treated is that form of heathen-Roman prophecy which was just as magical as mantic; and this peculiarity, with all its auguries, interpretations of omens, etc., formed an important support of the Roman secular power. [3340] The various references to papal Rome [3341] are precluded by the explanation of Revelation 13:1 sqq. [Note LXXIII., p. 387.]

[3338] See on Revelation 13:1 .

[3339] L. V. , c. 28, 2, ed. Stieren, I., p. 794.

[3340] Cf. Victorin., Andr., Hammond, Grot., Eichh., Ewald, De Wette; also Hengstenb.

[3341] Coccej., Calov., Vitr., etc.

ἐκ τῆς γῆς . Incorrectly, Grot.: “private origin.” Ewald’s explanation that the continent of Asia [3342] is to be regarded the theatre for those who had prophesied the return of Nero even apart from the difficult limitation of the idea τ . γῆς has no support in Revelation 13:3 . [3343] The explanation also of Hengstenb., that by ἐκ τ . γῆς in contrast with ἐκ τῶν ἄνω , or ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ , [3344] the earthly, worldly nature [3345] is indicated, does not lie at all in the context. The ἘΚ Τῆς Γῆς [3346] has respect, on the contrary, to the idea of the κατοικοῦντες ἐπὶ τὴς γῆς . The beast rises from the earth, because he is to work upon the whole earth, and all the inhabitants of the earth [3347]

κέρατα δύο ὅμοια ἀρνίῳ . The “compendious comparison” [3348] is not acknowledged by Ebrard when he commends the explanation as probable: “The beast has two horns, like ( ὅμοιον instead of ὅμοια ) a lamb (so that, then, the horns also were like the horns of the lamb).” Concerning the form of this beast, nothing further is expressed than that it had two horns like the horns of a lamb. The interpretation of this figure must be mistaken, if, notwithstanding the omission of the art. before ἀρνίῳ , a contrast is immediately found to the Lamb with seven horns, [3349] and it is then declared that the beast which has only two horns is far inferior in fulness of strength to that of the Lamb, although the similarity to Christ consists in that the wisdom also of this world is hidden, [3350] or that the beast especially resembles the Lamb of God in the manner in which he exercises its dominion over the Church. [3351] But while it is very difficult to regard the beast with his two horns of a lamb as in contrast with the Lamb with seven horns, a comparison with the beast out of the sea is readily made. This had ten horns, which must be further described in another respect; but the beast out of the earth has two horns, whose meaning lies in what is further said concerning them: they resemble the horns of a lamb, even in their number they were no more than those of a lamb. The number has, therefore, in itself no special reference, possibly in the same way as the ten horns (Revelation 13:1 ), [3352] but only expresses, like the entire form of the horns, the resemblance to a lamb in the appearance of the beast, and designates the peculiarity of pseudo-prophetism, which, in Matthew 7:15 , [3353] is symbolized in a somewhat different way.

καὶ ἐλάλει ὡς δράκων . The precise reference to the dragon, in whose service also this second beast stands, [3354] forbids the omission of the art.; besides, no speaking of the dragon is at all mentioned by Revelation 12:1 . The ὡς δράκων [3355] designates the crafty speech of the tempter. [3356] An allusion, however, to the relation to the dragon which also is not denied by Ewald, Züll., etc. lies in the fact that he is described not as Ὡς ὍΦΙς , but as Ὡς ΔΡ [3357]

[3342] Bengel, in his way, remarks: The earth is here also Asia, “to which already for a long time a greater part of the papal views … referred.”

[3343] See on that passage.

[3344] Cf. John 8:32 .

[3345] ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τοὐτου .

[3346] Cf. Revelation 13:1 , ἑκ . τ . θαλ .

[3347] Cf., immediately afterwards, Revelation 13:12 .

[3348] As Revelation 9:10 .

[3349] Revelation 5:6 .

[3350] Hengstenb.

[3351] Ebrard; who, after the manner of Vitr., etc., finds a fulfilment of the prophecy concerning the second beast, “in the papacy, with respect to its spiritual power.” Vitr. interprets the two horns as referring more definitely to the two monastic orders.

[3352] Against Wetst., who refers to Titus and Domitian; against Hammond, who explains: The twofold power of priests, viz., that of miracles and of prophecy.

[3353] Cf. Beda, Andr., Ewald.

[3354] Victorin.: “He spoke, full of the malice of the devil.” Andr., etc. Cf. also Hengstenb.: “As a dragon,” in fact, as well as “as the dragon.”

[3355] Cf. Genesis 3:1 sqq.; Ewald, De Wette.

[3356] Cf. Revelation 13:14 , πλανᾷ , with Genesis 3:13 .

[3357] Cf. Revelation 12:9 .


LXXIII. Revelation 13:11 sqq. ἄλλο θηρίον

In harmony with Düsterdieck, Gebhardt: “Heathen witchcraft and soothsaying; the heathen religion as divination and magic according to its demoniacal origin and background, and its demoniacal influence on the mind.” Revelation 13:12 : “The idolatrous homage by which the empire was consecrated and strengthened, it owed to the demoniacal influence of its religion upon the mind.” Revelation 13:13 : “In its approaching climax of development, it will work wonders which will compare in appearance with the greatest miracles of the true prophets; for example, with those of an Elias.” Revelation 13:14 : “If the heathen religion, with its demoniacal power, had already deluded the world, much more will it be so in the expected completion of that power; and as already it consecrated images to the Caesars for divine homage, as to gods, so with the appearance of the personal antichrist, it will fully bring the world to set him up as God, and to render him divine honors.” Revelation 13:15 : “The seer knew, and did not doubt, what was said among the heathen about speaking images; and he expected, therefore, that heathen sorcery would succeed in giving life, the spirit of life (cf. Revelation 11:11 ), to the image of the beast, so that it would speak, and thus be fully manifested to the world in its usurped divinity. And, indeed, in his time it had already happened that Christians were put to death because they refused to pay divine honors to the emperor; so, naturally, would it be in the future, as John foresaw, that refusal to worship the speaking image, as in the case of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:6 ), would end in death.” Revelation 13:16-17 : “The Christians were already variously and seriously hindered in business, because in the Roman Empire the heathen religion penetrated and governed all civil relations. Indeed, in this respect, they were under a ban. There needed only one step more. The worshippers of the beast would willingly place the name, or number of the name, of the beast upon their right hands, or upon their foreheads, or in the most conspicuous places; and those who would not consent to this, Christians included, would be able neither to buy nor sell; they would be shut out from intercourse, banned, marked, and robbed of the vital air in civil and social life.”

Verse 12

Revelation 13:12 . The second beast is expressly designated as standing in the relation of servitude to the first: the entire ἐξουσία given, he puts in operation, and that, too, ἐνωπίον αὐτοῦ , i. e., beneath the eyes of the first beast, as its lord. [3358]


ἹΝΑ ΠΡΟΣΚΥΝΉΣΟΥΣΙ . Cf. Revelation 3:9 .

Οὖ ἘΘΕΡΑΠ ., Κ . Τ . Λ . This was indicated already (Revelation 13:4 ) as the cause of the astonishing adoration.

[3358] Cf. Revelation 13:14 ; Revelation 8:2 ; 1 Kings 10:8 ; Numbers 3:6 . De Wette, Hengstenb.

Verses 13-14

Revelation 13:13-14 . σημεὶα μεγάλα . As, according to Matthew 24:24 , they belong to the seductive activity (Revelation 13:14 ) of the false prophet. [3359]

ἽΝΑ ΚΑῚ ΠῪΡ ΠΟΙῇ ΚΑΤΑΒΑΊΝΕΙΝ ἘΚ Τ . ΟΥΡ . With Beng., Hengstenb. recognizes here a significant example of the use of the ΊΝΑ [3360] in the sense of ὬΣΤΕ peculiar to the Apostle John. But, improperly: the use of ἽΝΑ , which in this passage, in fact, explains the conception of the ΜΕΓΆΛΑ , [3361] is very strongly distinguished from the style of the Apostle John, because in the latter [3362] the ideal statement of the purpose is actually included, while here the writer of the Apoc., in a mode widely different from the elegance of the apostle, describes something that is simply a matter of fact. In such case, the apostle infallibly writes ὭΣΤΕ [3363] or ὍΤΙ . [3364]

The words ἽΝΑ ΚΑῚ ΠῪΡ , Κ . Τ . Λ . , should not be regarded as proving that the false prophet intends to mimic Pentecost, [3365] or wishes to represent himself as a second Solomon. We are much more apt to think of an allusion to the miracles of Elijah, [3366] and thus to regard this false prophet as a forerunner of antichrist, in a way similar to that according to which the true Christ had an Elias [3367] as a forerunner. But the analogy dare not be determined more specifically than the context itself suggests. It is not the antichrist in the sense of the Apostle John, [3368] but the dragon that in the Apoc. stands opposed to Christ, [3369] and it is not the forerunner, but the accomplice, of the dragon, that is the other beast whose ungodly and antichristian nature expresses itself in the fact that in virtue of his demoniacal power he can perform miracles, which appear to be counterparts of the miracles of the true prophets.

ΚΑῚ ΠΛΑΝᾷ . The miracles are an important auxiliary [3370] of the seduction. [3371]

ΛΈΓΩΝ , without construction, as Revelation 11:1 .

ΠΟΙῆΣΑΙ ΕἸΚΌΝΑ Τῷ ΘΗΡΊῼ , Κ . Τ . Λ . The historical foundation of this description is indicated already in the Introduction. [3372] All images of deified emperors must have appeared to the Christian conscience as images of the beast, the more certainly as all those individual emperors were possessors of the same antichristian secular power. Hence the addition Δ ἝΧΕΙ Τ . ΠΛ ., Κ . Τ . Λ . , [3373] is also again in place here; the statues of Augustus and Caligula, erected to them as gods, were also represented by the beast which received its wound only with Nero’s death.

[3359] Victorin.: “These things the Magi do also to-day through fallen angels.”

[3360] The variation καὶ πῦρ ἱνα εκ τ . οὑρ . καταβαἱνῃ (Griesb., De Wette) would contain a turn similar to that of Revelation 13:12 , viz., και (sc. ποιεῖ ) πῦρ , κ . τ . λ .

[3361] Cf. Winer, p. 430.

[3362] Cf., e.g., 1 John 3:1 , with my note, vol. ii., p. 49.

[3363] John 3:16 .

[3364] 1 John 4:9 .

[3365] Beda.

[3366] 2 Chronicles 7:1 . C. a Lap.

[3367] Cf. Revelation 11:3 sqq.

[3368] Cf. Introduction, p. 65.

[3369] Revelation 12:3 sqq., Revelation 13:1 sqq.

[3370] διὰ τ . σ ., because of the miracles. Cf. Revelation 12:11 .

[3371] Matthew 24:24 : ὥστε πλανήσαι .

[3372] p. 51 sq.

[3373] Cf. Revelation 13:12 . On the κ . ἔζησεν , cf. Revelation 2:8 . On the neut. ο ἔχ ., see Critical Notes.

Verse 15

Revelation 13:15 . To the second beast, it was further given ( ἐδοθη , cf. Revelation 13:7 ): δοῦναι πνεῦμα τῇ εἰκόνι τοῦ θηρίου , i.e., to give that image of the beast a demoniacal πνεῦμα ζωῆς , [3374] and that, too, with the intention ( ἽΝΑ ΚΑῚ ΛΑΛ . ) that this might thereby speak, and also by this sign of life manifest his usurped divine glory which must be adored (Revelation 13:15 b ). Revelation 13:15 a must not be understood of a speaking of the spirit of heathen idols; [3375] but this feature of the description contains a suggestion of what has been reported concerning divine images actually speaking; [3376] and John appears [3377] to presuppose the reality of such demoniacal miracles.

Significant, besides, is the statement that the idol of the first beast had not the power to speak of itself, nor with the rough force with which the beast ruled the world, but that the intellectual power of the lying wisdom of the world must give that beast living speech. The false prophet with his ΠΛΑΝᾶΝ belongs thereto, if that beast is to find worship.

Incorrect is the special reference in Victorin.: “He will cause a golden image to antichrist to be placed in the temple at Jerusalem , and the vanishing angel to enter, and to give thence voices and decisions.”

κ . ποιήσῃ ἱνα

ἀποκτανθῶσι . On the construction, cf. Revelation 13:12 . On the historical illustration of this testimony, as in the letter of Pliny to Trajan. [3378]

[3374] Cf. Revelation 11:11 .

[3375] Against Hengstenb., who remarks how the heathen in his idol objectified his own views, and that, too, with a vividness which was attested by the assertions of actual speech on the part of those images.

[3376] Cf. Grot., Ew. ii., who also recalls the popular deception of speaking statues of Mary.

[3377] Cf. also Revelation 13:13 .

[3378] L. X., ep. 97: “When they invoked the gods, and with wine and frankincense made supplication to your image, which, for that purpose, I had commanded to be brought together with the statues of the deities, none of which things, as is said, those who are really Christians can be forced to do.” Those who remain faithful must die: “Threatening also to punish them with death. Such as persisted, I ordered them to be led away.” Cf., concerning the Neronian persecution, Tacit., Ann. , xv. 44.

Verses 16-17

Revelation 13:16-17 . καὶ ποιεῖ πάντας

ἵνα δῶσιν αὐτοῖς χαρ .

καὶ ἵνα μή τις , κ . τ . λ . The first ἵνα , just as Revelation 13:12 ; the second ἵνα (Revelation 13:17 ) has a different relation to the ποιεῖ , which is to be regarded as repeated before it, in so far as here an immediate determination of the object is lacking.

John describes how the entire number of worshippers of the beast, [3379] who recognize one another by a mark which certifies that they belong to the beast, hinder the intercourse, required even in business with respect to their daily life, of saints who have not received that mark of the beast.

ΔῶΣΙΝ ΑὐΤΟῚς ΧΆΡΑΓΜΑ . Deceived by the second beast unto the worship of the first beast (Revelation 13:14 ), the dwellers on the earth put a mark upon themselves; they receive it willingly. [3380]

ἘΠῚ Τῆς ΧΕΙΡῸς ΑὐΤῶΝ Τῆς ΔΕΞΙᾶς ἘΠῚ ΤῸ ΜΈΤΩΠΟΝ ΑὐΤῶΝ . Züll. and Hengstenb. unjustly resist the acknowledgment [3381] that the idea contains an allusion to the heathen custom of branding slaves and soldiers, and thus of designating that they belong to the same master. It is just concerning this that the treatment refers, and not with respect to a counterpart of Deuteronomy 6:8 ; for the ΧΆΡΑΓΜΑ of the worshippers of the beast is to mark them as such, and to render them distinguishable as of the same nature, but in itself by no means contains an admonition of a service of the beast to which they are bound. The reminiscence of the Gentile custom is the more natural here, as the worshippers of the beast are partners in the Gentile-Roman Empire. The ΧΆΡΑΓΜΑ , however, is not the bringing together by a “confession,” [3382] but it is the definite external mark indicated in both its forms in Revelation 13:17 , which is attached either to the forehead or the right hand, and thus in places most readily presented to the eyes; for, since it is intended only for visibility, whether it be attached to the one or the other place is a matter of indifference. [3383] Inappropriately, Hengstenb. says: “The forehead is the most suitable place for the confession” (? Romans 10:10 ), and the right hand comes into consideration “as the instrument for action.” But just because the parallel assertion ἘΠῚ Τ . ΜΈΤΩΠΟΝ ΑΎΤ . does not allow any other reference than to the convenient visibility of the mark, the ἘΠῚ Τ . ΧΕῖΡ . ΑὐΤ . Τ . ΔΕΞ . also cannot have any deeper reference. The right hand is mentioned because this must manifest itself especially in daily use.

The nature of the signature contained by the χάραγμα is definitely expressed in Revelation 13:17 : ΤῸ ὌΝΟΜΑ ΤΟῦ ΘΗΡΊΟΥ , ΤῸΝ ἈΡΙΘΜῸΝ ΤΟῦ ὈΝΌΜΑΤΟς ΑὐΤΟῦ , i.e., either the express name by which the beast is known, and. therefore written in letters, or the number which gives the numerical value of the letters contained in the name. [3384] In every respect perversely, Coccejus says that the ΧΆΡΑΓΜΑ is the law, the ὌΝΟΜΑ the Catholic Church, and the ἈΡΙΘΜ . unwritten tradition.

[3379] The specifications τ . μικροῦς κ . τ . μεγ ., κ . τ . λ ., exhaust in a perceptible way the idea of the πἁντας . Cf. Revelation 6:15 , Revelation 11:18 , Revelation 19:18 .

[3380] Cf. Revelation 14:9 ; Revelation 14:11 , Revelation 16:2 , Revelation 19:20 , Revelation 20:4 .

[3381] Grot., Ebrard, etc.

[3382] Against Hengstenb., who yet himself remarks that the confession has an impulse for an external sign.

[3383] Cf., on the other hand, Revelation 7:3 .

[3384] Cf. De Wette, etc.

Verse 18

Revelation 13:18 . As John wants to designate the χάραγμα definitely, and that, too, in the form of the ἀριθμὸς τοῦ ὁνόματος of the beast (Revelation 13:17 ), he mentions first of all, that wisdom and understanding are required for the comprehension of this mysterious mark. The formula ώδε ή σοφ . ἐστιν receives its peculiar meaning [3385] through the context, especially through the express demand ἜΧΩΝ ΝΟῦΝ ΨΗΦΙΣΆΤΩ , Κ . Τ . Λ . A reckoning ( ΨΗΦΙΣΆΤΩ ) is properly required, because the subject has reference to a number, and the value of its letters; yet the invitation to solve the puzzle intelligibly is supported by the explicit remark that the solution can actually be found, [3386] because the number is meant in the ordinary way: ἀριθμὸς γὰρ ἀνθρώπου ἐστίν . These words do not declare that the number describes the name of any particular human person, [3387] in order to express which, John would have had to attach a τινὸς , or, after his way, [3388] a ἑνὸς , to ἀνθρ ., but, as also the γὰρ , and the omission of the art. before ἀριθμ . indicate, that the ἀριθαὸς τοῦ θηρίου express the ὄνομα τοῦ θηρίου in a human way, and therefore according to the value of the letters current with every one. The key to the mystery of the numerical name is, therefore, readily found; but wisdom and understanding are necessary in order to use this key properly. That this is not so easy, the history of the exposition shows, as it [3389] gives the report of hundreds of attempts to solve the puzzle, which failed just because it was not understood, on the part of the large number of men which may contain the names of thousands, how to decipher the only correct name.

With the statement of this riddle John concludes the description of the beast, which thus reaches the most significant climax: καὶ ὁ ἀριθμὸς αὐτοῦ χξ ϛʹ. The αὐτοὺ belongs to the conception τοῦ θηρίου , [3390] just as ΨΗΦ . Τ . ἈΡΙΘΜῸΝ Τ . ΘΗΡ . was expressed, yet in the sense that the ἉΡΙΘΜ . ΤΟῦ ΘΗΡΊΟΥ is meant as the ἈΡΙΘΜ . ΤΟῦ ὈΝΌΜΑΤΟς ΤΟῦ ΘΗΡ . , Revelation 13:17 .

Without all doubt the number to be indicated means χΙ Ϛʹ , i.e., 666; for what Irenaeus [3391] reports of those who received the number χΙ Ϛʹ , 616, is the less applicable for causing any doubt with respect to the certainty of the received reading χΙ Ϛʹ , as Irenaeus himself decidedly advocates the latter reading by asserting for it the authority of all good and ancient MSS., and an express tradition which he derived from the author of the Apoc. himself.

In order to find the interpretation of the enigmatical number commended by John to Christian understanding, the indications afforded by the nearer and more remote context are certainly to be observed, which show the entire class of attempts at interpretation to be impossible, and urge the correct interpretation:

[3385] Cf. Revelation 13:10 .

[3386] Against Irenæus, L. V. , c. 30. Cf. Intro., p. 75. Andr.: ὁ χρόνος ἀποκαλύψει . Hofmann, who even assumes that John himself did not know the name signified by the number; Luthardt, etc. Cf. Intro., p. 42.

[3387] Beda, Grot., Ew. i., Züll., Hofm. ( Schriftbew. , ii. 637), Volkm., Klief., etc.

[3388] Revelation 8:13 .

[3389] Cf. Wolf, Curae , on this passage; Heinrichs, Excursus 4., De antichristo, et imprimis monogrammate illo, cap xiii. 18, numerum exprimente , vol. ii. p. 235. Züllig, Excurs . ii., 232.

[3390] This reference is not, as Klief. says, “an evasion,” but a philological necessity, which, of course, cannot be acknowledged, if, upon the basis of Revelation 13:18 ( ἁρ . γ . ἀνθρ .), it be asserted (Klief.) that the beast is a man, since the number of the beast designates a man. But in truth, the ἀνθρ . is only a qualitative designation of the ἀριθμὸς , so that it is directly impossible to refer the αὐτοῦ in the closing words to ἀνθρ . It can refer only to the chief conception which is designated by repetition in Revelation 13:17 ( τ . ἀρ . τ . ὁν . αὐτοῦ ) and Revelation 13:18 ( τ . ἁρ . τοῦ θηριοῦ ).

[3391] L. V., c. 30: “I do not know how it is that some have erred, following the ordinary mode of speech, and have vitiated the middle number in the name, deducting fifty numbers, wishing that only one be instead of six decades. This 1 think was the fault of the copyists,” etc.

(1) All expositors enter into an erroneous course who, in spite of the declaration of the text, understand the number not as τὸν ἀριθμὸν τοῦ ὀνόματος τοῦ θηρίου ; i.e., who have held it as any thing else than a definite name expressed in numbers. Therefore, not only is such play-work to be rejected of itself, as that of Zeger [3392] and of Coccejus, [3393] but also all Apocalyptic chronology based upon the number 666. With what confidence this was formerly held, is to be seen from the fact that in the Wittenberg Bible of the year 1661, the note (Luther’s gloss) is given: “It is 666 years: so long does the worldly papacy stand.” The master in the sphere of Apocalyptic arithmetic in which men even like Isaac Newton have erred [3394] was Bengel, whose piety remains worthy of respect because it believed that even in the spaces of time which are regarded as revealed in the Apoc., the holy ways of God are to be discerned, although not only is the excessive curiosity which muddled that piety reproved by the wording and spirit of Acts 1:7 . Matthew 24:36 , [3395] but also the entire theory, as it is built by Bengel upon this text, is deprived of a foundation and basis by making the text itself speak of nothing less than of 666 years. Bengel’s system of Apocalyptic chronology depends essentially upon the fact, that, in order to gain first an arithmetical proportion upon which to work, he combines the 666 years, as ordinary years, with the 3½ times or 42 “prophetical months,” [3396] that thereby he may attain the various chronological determinations, [3397] which he then applies to the history of the popes.

[3392] Viz., that the name Legion, Luke 8:30 , is meant, viz., six thousand six hundred and sixty-six, but after a withdrawal of six thousand caused by Christ’s victory.

[3393] Viz., that the Catholic additions to apostolic doctrine are meant, the jus canonicum , espedially the liber sextus , since the number six remains if six hundred and sixty-six be divided by twelve.

[3394] Cf. Lücke, p. 1036.

[3395] In a remarkable way, Bengel ( Erkl. Offenb ., p. 1090) attempts to prove that Acts 1:7 does not testify against his method of “Apocalyptic chronology.” The Lord, he says, gave his apostles “no pure repulse,” but only informed them that the knowledge of the day and hour did not belong to the apostolic office .

[3396] Revelation 12:6 ; Revelation 12:14 .

[3397] 666, 777 years.

(2) Against the method, given in the text, for finding the name of the beast from the number 666, in such a way that the numerical value of the letters forming the concealed name gives that sum, Vitringa and Hengstenb. object, with their peculiar interpretation, rejected already by Vitr. and Coccejus. Because, in Ezra 2:13 , a head of a family, Adonikam, with 666 sons, is mentioned, the Apoc. number is therefore regarded as referring to this name, אִדַֹנִיקָם (the Lord sets up), and thus, in the sense of Revelation 13:4 , [3398] the antichristian arrogance of the beast deifying itself is indicated. Besides, Hengstenb. finds even in the number 666 itself the sign of that which is contrary to God, because, “as the swollen six,” it always remains a world-number, and can never be reduced to the godly number seven. [3399] But even apart from this last mode of trifling, and without considering that it yields a Hebrew name, while only a Greek name is to be expected, a mere play-work would be found therein, entirely spiritless, and not in harmony with the holy earnestness of John, if, without all inner reference to the supposed name, it would be referred to the number of children of Adonikam. Yet the name Adonikam could be meant in the assumed sense if that head of a family had had 777 sons.

[3398] 2 Thessalonians 2:4 .

[3399] Cf. C. a Lap. and Lnthardt, who refer the antichristian number 666 as in antithesis to the number 888 with which in the Sibyll. Orac ., L. I., p. 176, ed. Serv. Gall., the name Ἰησοῦς is described; Herd., etc., mention that the serpentine form ξ occurs between the letters χς , i.e., the monogram of the name of Christ.

(3) We have not only in the wording of Revelation 13:17-18 , the clear direction for seeking a name in the enigmatical number; but the Apoc. as a whole, and the context of ch. 13 especially, compel us to reckon that name from no other than the Greek alphabet. A scientific expositor at the present day no longer attempts to introduce the Latin alphabet [3400] or those of modern languages. [3401] It is only either the Greek or the Hebrew alphabet that can enter into consideration. The application of the latter is apparently urged by the O. T. character of the Apoc. [3402] Züllig thus finds the name Balaam in the designation of Joshua 13:33 , which, [3403] however, has nothing to do with the θηρίον of whose name it treats. Such interpretations would suit better, as that invented by Ewald for the (false) number 616, רום קיסר , i.e., Cæsar at Rome, or that received by Hilgenf., Renan, etc., [3404] נרין קסר , [3405] if the presumption that Nero were to be identified with the beast were correct, [3406] and if the introduction of the Hebrew alphabet were not arbitrary. Irenaeus, Primas, Victorin., Beda, Andr., Areth., Wetst., Grot., Calov., Eichh., Ew. i., De Wette, Stern, Rinck, Lücke, Bleek, etc., are correct in their attempt to find the number indicated by the name in the Greek alphabet; for although the Apoc., in its entire mode of presentation and in its style, shows a strongly impressed O. T. type, ye t it is intended for the Greek-speaking reader, and, therefore, takes the formula A and Ω [3407] from the Greek alphabet, as also, in its references to O. T. passages, it is not altogether independent of the version of the LXX. [3408] But of the Greek interpretations that have been attempted, most miscarry, because they are either in form intolerable, or without meaning and definite reference. Here belong the solutions εὐάνθας , ἅντεμος , [3409] ἀρνοῦμε , [3410] τεὶταν , [3411] ὁ νικητής , [3412] ἁντίδοκος , [3413] Οὔλπιος , [3414] λαμπέτης , κακὸς ὁδηγος , ἄμνος ἄδικος , etc. [3415] Ingenious is the solution commended by Märcker. [3416] He reckons, according to the Greek alphabet, the numerical value of the initials of the names of the emperors, from Octavianus to the tenth following, Vespasian, inclusive of the three emperors of the interregnum,

Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, by reckoning the numerical sign ί as the tenth, and so obtaining the letters οʹ , τʹ , γʹ , κʹ , υʹ , γʹ , οʹ , οʹ , οʹ , ιʹ , which, according to their numerical value, give correctly 666, and besides can be combined in the name of the beast, ὀγκότογιον , so that the result is an indication of the vastness and pride ( ὄγκος ), and of the peculiar garment ( toga ) in the Roman Empire. This solution is a flagrant act of trifling, to which, besides, a counterpart is offered. It is false, therefore, already, because nothing justifies us in taking the names of the ten emperors as a basis, among which the last is figured only as a numerical sign. The combined name of the beast expresses little.

Kienlen, resorting to the Hebrew alphabet, derives the name of Domitian.

Kliefoth says that no name whatever is mentioned, but only the antichristian character of the beast, which, in every gradation of the world-power indicated by the number six, does not, nevertheless, reach the number seven which symbolizes the divine.

Irenaeus already was acquainted with that solution of the puzzle, which alone corresponds to all demands,

Λατεῖνος , i.e., according to the value of the letters: 30 + 1 + 300 + 5 + 10 + 50 + 70 + 200 = 666. So Calov., Eichh., Ew. i., De Wette, Ebrard, etc. Irenaeus, indeed, preferred the name Τεῖταν , yet said: “But the name Λατεῖνος also has the number 666, and it is very probable, since the last kingdom has this name. For the Latins are they who now rule.” Against this interpretation it dare not be objected, that the usual form of the name is Λατῖνος ; for although this is never found in analogous forms, like Σαβεῖνος , Παπείρος , etc., the very nature of the case has determined such a departure from what is usual, for the sake of the riddle. Yet, e.g., in the sibylline books, [3417] the name χρὶστος is changed into χρεῖστος , because in the acrostic description of the words Ἰησοῦς χρῖστος , θεοῦ υἰος , κ . τ . λ ., not ι , but only an ει , can be introduced. But if the name of the beast be Λατεῖνος , there is conveyed by this numerical name the most definite designation of the beast as the Roman Empire, not of any individual emperor, and the exposition of ch. Revelation 13:1 sqq., is expressly confirmed. [See Note LXXIV., p. 388.]

[3400] Cf. Bossuet’s interpretation: DIoCLes aVgVstVs = Diocles or Diocletian Augustus, by reckoning only one part of the letters. Similar artificial expedients in Vieg. and the Catholics, who derived the names Martin Luther, John Calvin, Beza antitheos, and the like, reckoning sometimes in German, and sometimes In Greek and Hebrew; while, on the contrary, the old Protestants conjectured the names of Popes, Jesuits, etc.

[3401] Cf. Gerken, with his numerous interpretations with respect to the history of Napoleon.

[3402] Cf. Intro., p. 63.

[3403] Only that Züll., in order to conform to the number 666, must put קסם instead of the הַקו̇סַם .

[3404] Cf. De Wette.

[3405] It ought to be נ ״קיסר , i.e., Nero Cæsar.

[3406] Cf., on the other hand, on Revelation 13:3 .

[3407] Revelation 1:8 , Revelation 22:13 .

[3408] Cf. Revelation 12:5 .

[3409] Interpreted as “contrary to honor.”

[3410] Interpreted “denying.” Both these interpretations rejected already by Beda.

[3411] Irenaeus, Beda, Wetst., found therein an allusion to the Emperor Titus.

[3412] Stern.

[3413] Rinck, who has to reckon the smooth breathing as 1, in order to avoid the result 665.

[3414] Interpreted “ Ulpius Trajan ,” which must reckon ας instead of α ϛ.

[3415] Cf., already, Andr.

[3416] Stud. u. Krit ., 1868, p. 699.

[3417] L. VIII., p. 723, ed. Serv. Gall.


LXXIV. Revelation 13:18 . ἑξακόσιοι ἑξήκοντα ἑξ

Luthardt: “This number was transmitted also orally from the fathers, but not its meaning; this is a matter of the future, and all interpretations attempted are arbitrary. The best is still the ancient one: ‘The Latin,’ i.e., the antichrist, is the ruler of the Roman Empire. But the number is intended to designate the name of a person.” Alford ( Prolegomena ): “Even while I print my note in favor of the Λατεινός of Irenaeus, I feel almost disposed to withdraw it. It is, beyond question, the best solution that has been given; but that it is not the solution, I have a persuasion amounting to certainty. It must be considered merely as worthy to emerge from the thousand and one failures strewed up and down in our books, and to be kept in sight till the challenge ώδε ἡ σοφία ἐστίν is satisfactorily redeemed.” Gebhardt suggests that both Λατεινός and Cæsar Nero in Hebrew letters are correct. Farrar ( Early Days of Christianity , pp. 468 474) argues with much learning and great ingenuity for the latter interpretation.

Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 13". Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hmc/revelation-13.html. 1832.
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