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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Revelation 13

Verse 1

Beast [θηριον] . Properly rendered. See remarks on bona living creatures, ch. 4 6.

Rise up [αναβαινον] . Rev., better, coming up, thus giving the force of the participle.

Ten horns. Compare Daniel 7:7.

Crowns [διαδηματα] . Compare ch. 12 3. See on ch. Revelation 2:10.

The name [ονομα] . Read ojnomata names. On each head a name.

Verse 2

A leopard [παρδαλει] . The ancients do not seem to have distinguished between the leopard, the panther, and the ounce. The word stands for either. Leopard is leo - pard, the lion - pard, which was supposed to be a mongrel between a panther and a lioness. Compare Daniel 7:6.

Bear. Compare Daniel 7:5.

Lion. Compare Daniel 7:4.

Verse 3

I saw [ειδον] . Omitted in the best texts.

Wounded [εφαγμενην] . Lit., slain. See on ch. Revelation 5:6. The Rev. smitten is questionable. The word occurs eight times in Revelation, and in seven of these it must be rendered slain or slaughtered. Professor Milligan rightly observes that the statement is the counterpart of that in ver. 6, where we read of the lamb as though it had been slaughtered. In both cases there had been actual death, and in both revival. The one is a mocking counterpart of the other.

Deadly wound [πληγη του θανατου] . Lit., stroke of death. Rev., death - stroke.

After the beast [οπισω του θηριου] . A pregnant construction for wondered at and followed after.

Verse 4

Which gave [ος εδωκεν] . The correct reading is oti "because he gave." Who is like unto the beast ? A parody on a similar ascription to God. See Isaiah 40:18, Isaiah 40:25; Isaiah 46:5; Psalms 113:5; Micah 7:18; Jeremiah 49:19. Compare ch. 18 18.

Verse 5

To continue forty and two months [ποιησαι μηνας τεσσερακοντα δυο] . Lit., to make forty and two months. Similarly, Acts 14:33, poihsantev cronon having tarried a space; lit., having made a time. See on continued there a year, James 4:13. The best expositors, however, render poihsai absolutely, to work, and the following accusative as the accusative of duration, "during forty and two months." Rev., margin to do his works during, etc. See Daniel 11:28.

Verse 6

In blasphemy [εις βλασφημιαν] . Read blasfhmiav blasphemies. Rev., giving the force of eijv more correctly, "for blasphemies." And them that dwell in heaven [και τους εν τω ουρανω σκηνουντας] . The best texts omit kai and, making the following words in apposition with onoma and skhnhn name and tabernacle. Thus the literal sense would be to blaspheme the name and tabernacle which dwell in heaven. "The meaning is to enhance the enormity of the blasphemy by bringing out the lofty nature of God 's holy name and dwelling - place" (Alford). The word dwell is, literally, tabernacle. See on ch. Revelation 12:12.

Verse 7

The saints [των αγιων] . See on Acts 26:10.

All kindreds [πασαν φυλην] . Rev., more literally and correctly, every tribe. See on ch. Revelation 1:7; v. 9. After tribe insert kai laon and people. See on 1 Peter 2:9.

Nation [εθνος] . See on 1 Peter 2:9.

Verse 8

From the foundation of the world. These words may be construed with slain or with written. In favor of the latter is ch. 18 8; of the former, 1 Peter 1:19, 1 Peter 1:20. Alford, pertinently as I think, urges the position of the words in favor of the connection with slain, and says that had it not been for the apparent difficulty of the sense thus conveyed, no one would have thought of going so far back as to hath been written for a connection. Render, as Rev., the lamb that hath been slain from the foundation of the world. Katabolh foundation is literally a throwing or laying down, from kataballw to throw down; hence a laying down of a foundation.

Verse 10

He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity [ει τις αιχμαλωσιαν συναγει, εις αιχμαλωσιαν υπαγει] . Lit., if any one assemble captivity (i. e., bring together captives) into captivity he goeth away. The best texts insert eijv into before the first captivity, and omit assemble, thus reading if any man is for captivity into captivity he goeth. So Rev. See on dispersion, John 7:35. Compare Jeremiah 14:2; Jeremiah 43:11. The persecutors of the Church shall suffer that which they inflict on the saints.

Sword [μαχαιρη] . See on ch. Revelation 6:4.

Here. In the thought that God judgeth in the earth.

Verse 14

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

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

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

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

Verse 15

Speak. This is supposed by some to refer to the tricks of pagan priests in making pictures and statues appear to speak

Verse 16

A mark [χαραγμα] . The word occurs frequently in Revelation, and only once elsewhere (Acts 17:29) on which see note. commentators find illustrations in the brand set upon slaves by their masters, or upon soldiers by their monarchs, and in the branding of slaves attached to certain temples. Herodotus describes a temple to Hercules at the Canopic mouth of the Nile, and says : "If a slave runs away from his master, and taking sanctuary at this shrine gives himself up to the God, and receives certain sacred marks upon his person, whosoever his master may be, he cannot lay hand on him" (ii., 113). In the treatise "concerning the Syrian goddess" falsely attributed to Lucian, it is said of the slaves of the temple, "all are branded, some upon the wrist and some upon the neck." Paul, in Galatians 6:17, applies the word for these brands, stigmata, to the marks of Christ 's service which he bears in his body. In 3 Macc. 2 29, we read that Ptolemy Philopator required all the Jews of Alexandria to be registered among the common people; and that those who were thus registered were to be marked [χαρασεσθαι] on their persons by the ivy - leaf symbol of Dionysus (Bacchus). In Leviticus 19:28, the Israelites are forbidden to make cuttings in their flesh for the dead and to print marks [γραμματα στικτα] upon themselves.

Verse 17

The number. The method of mystic numbering obtained alike among pagan Greeks, Gnostics, Christian Fathers, and Jewish Cabbalists. Jupiter was invoked under the number 717 contained in the letters H APXH the beginning. The Gnostics affixed to their gems and amulets the mystic word ajbrasax or ajbraxav, under the idea of some virtue attaching to its number, 365, as being that of the days of the solar cycle. Barnabas and Clement of Alexandria speak of the virtue of the number 318 as being that of IHT, the common abbreviation for Jesus crucified. In the pseudo - Sybilline verses, written by Christians, about the end probably of the second century, are found versified enigmas giving the number and requiring the name. The translation of one of these on the word Jesus is as follows : "He will come upon earth clothed with flesh like mortal men. His name contains four vowels and two consonants : two of the former being sounded together. And I will declare the entire number. For the name will exhibit to incredulous men eight units, eight tens, and eight hundreds."

Verse 18

Here is wisdom. Directing attention to the challenge which follows. Count [ψηφισατω] . See on Luke 14:28.

The number of a man. It is counted as men usually count. Compare ch. 21 17, and a man's pen, Isaiah 8:1. Some explain, a symbolical number denoting a person.

Six hundred threescore and six (c. 10 v). Each letter represents a component of the whole number : c = 600; x = 60; v = 6. In the earlier MSS : it is written in full, eJxakosioi eJxhkonta ejx. The method of reading generally adopted is that known as the Ghematria of the Rabbins, or in Greek, ijsoyhfia numerical equality, which assigns each letter of a name its usual numerical value, and gives the sum of such numbers as the equivalent of the name. Thus, in the Epistle of Barnabas, we are told that the name Ihsouv Jesus is expressed by the number 888. I = 10; h = 8; s = 200; o = 70; u = 400; s = 200. The majority of the commentators use the Greek alphabet in computation; others, however, employ the Hebrew; while a third class employ the Roman numerals.

The interpretations of this number form a jungle from which escape is apparently hopeless. Reuss says : "This famous number has been made to yield almost all the historical names of the past eighteen centuries : Titus, Vespasian, and Simon Gioras; Julian the Apostate and Genseric; Mahomet and Luther; Benedict iv and Louis xiv; Napoleon 1 and the Duke of Reichstadt; and it would not be difficult, on the same principles, to read in it one another's names." Some of the favorite names are Lateinov, Latinus, describing the common character of the rulers of the former pagan Roman Empire : Nero Caesar; Diocletian; cv the name of Christ abridged, and x the emblem of the serpent, so that the sublimated sense is the Messiah of Satan.

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Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 13". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/revelation-13.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.