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Bible Commentaries

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation
Revelation 13

 

 

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Verse 1

Revelation 13:1

Revelation 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

By sea here, we may understand some very great confluence of people, and nations. { Revelation 17:15} Learned Meade in his comment upon { Revelation 8:1-13} faith, that Alaricus, with an huge host of Goths, and other barbarians, Alans, Huns, etc, invaded the Roman empire, both east and west, pages71-74. And Hierom Epist11testified that innumerable and most cruel Barbarians invaded France, Spain, and Germany, Mentz and Rome itself. See Clavis Apoc. a German author, page127. Mr. Archer in his personal reign of Christ.

By the beast here, we may understand the beast of the eighth head, Revelation 17:11 -See KNOLLYS: Revelation 17:11 the popedom of Rome papal, with his ten crowned horns; horns, which Mr. Meade faith, are, first, the Britans; Secondly, the Saxons; Thirdly, the Franks; Fourthly, the Burgundians; Fifthly, the Wisigothes; Sixthly, the Swedes; Seventhly, the Vandals; Eighthly, the Alemans; Ninthly, the Ostrogoths; Tenthly, the Grecians. These were ten Roman provinces, who received power as kings one hour with the beast. { Revelation 17:12} See the expositon thereof. See KNOLLYS: Revelation 17:12 The seven heads had the crowns, { Revelation 12:3}

And upon his heads the name of blasphemy

that Isaiah , they were all seven idolaters, see { Revelation 7:10} who worshipped idols of stone, wood, etc, historians differ about the exact year of the beasts rising, but most probable it was between410,428 which will appear before1688 be fully ended.


Verse 2

Revelation 13:2

Revelation 13:2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

Here we have the description of the beast which rose out of the sea.

First,

like unto a leopard

the leopard is a swift creature, { Habakkuk 1:8} and a beast of prey, { Jeremiah 5:6} and so is this beast of the seventh and eighth head, { Revelation 17:10-11} see the exposition thereof. See KNOLLYS: Revelation 17:10 See KNOLLYS: Revelation 17:11

Secondly,

his feet were as the feet of a bear

rending and tearing in pieces all that he takes for his prey. { Daniel 7:19-23} Thirdly,

and his mouth as the mouth of a lion

which is the strongest and most devouring beast of prey. So are the Popes in the exercise of their anti-Christian power and dominion over all in their kingdom.

And the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

By the dragon, we are to understand that old serpent, called the devil and Satan, Revelation 12:9 and Revelation 20:2. See KNOLLYS: Revelation 20:2 The throne of the beast, is the kingdom of the world, especially the ten crowned kingdoms before mentioned, whereof Great Britain is first, and shall be the last. The power of the beast, is his poli-ecclesiastical jurisdiction in all causes, and over all persons, civil, military, maritime, and ecclesiastical; and therefore, here called

great authority,


Verse 3

Revelation 13:3

Revelation 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

This was the Roman papal head, the Pope, who is the eighth head, and is of the seven, as { Revelation 17:10-11} The beast that John saw rise out of the sea, had seven heads and ten horns as well as the dragon, only the principal distinction between them is this, the dragons heads were crowned, and the beasts horns were crowned, (as hath been shewed in the exposition of chapter12 , verse3See KNOLLYS: Revelation 12:3 and this13th chapter, verse1.) See KNOLLYS: Revelation 13:1

By

one of the beasts heads,

we are to understand the last head of the Roman pagan dragon; viz. his seventh head, and the first head of the Roman papal beast, was wounded (as it were) unto death, that Isaiah , had a deadly wound given him by the great Barbarian armies, (before mentioned) by whom Rome was sacked, and the Pope of Rome made to fly from thence to Vienna, (as historians testify)

And his deadly wound was healed;

that Isaiah , by the beast that came up out of the earth. { Revelation 13:11-12} See the exposition thereof. See KNOLLYS: Revelation 13:11 and See KNOLLYS: Revelation 13:12

And all the world wondered after the beast

by the world here, we are to understand all the then inhabiters of the earth, whose names are not written in the lamb's book of life. { Revelation 13:8} By

wondering after the beast,

we may understand their admiring of him, as { Revelation 13:4} And they worshipped the beast, saying, who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And their adoring of him above all that is called God, or that is worshipped. { 2 Thessalonians 2:4}


Verse 4

Revelation 13:4

Revelation 13:4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

This worship of the dragon, and of the beast, was an idolatrous and superstitious worship, which is accounted a worshipping of the devil. { 1 Corinthians 10:20-22} As the gentiles worshipping idols, and images, is called worshipping the devil. { Revelation 9:20 see the exposition.} See KNOLLYS: Revelation 9:20 So the papists worshipping images, crosses, crucifixes, saints deceased, the image of the Virgin Mary, altars, etc, is worshipping the devil. Also the great adoration that the Papists give unto the Pope himself, and to his decrees, etc, is (not a dive, but) a devilish worship. The two following queries have very much idolatrous adoration in them. {Read Psalm 35:10; Psalm 71:19; Psalm 89:8; Psalm 113:3-5}

who is able to make war with the beast?

All kings and emperors submitted themselves, their power, strength, and kingdoms, unto the beast, { Revelation 17:13-17} see the exposition thereof. See KNOLLYS: Revelation 17:13 [ff] See KNOLLYS: Revelation 17:14 See KNOLLYS: Revelation 17:15 See KNOLLYS: Revelation 17:16 See KNOLLYS: Revelation 17:17 And they that would not, the Popes exercised their ecclesiastical power in excommunicating them, and their political power to depose them; Pope Innocentius excommunicated all the eastern churches, and deposed Arcadius.

Revelation 13:4 Who is like unto the beast, who is able to make war with him? The Roman pagan

power, and great authority,

was ordained of God, { Romans 13:1-3} etc, but the Roman papal

power, and seat, and great authority

is of the devil, the dragon.


Verse 5

Revelation 13:5

Revelation 13:5-6 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

This

mouth speaking great things

was like that mouth of the little horn. { Daniel 7:24-25} The great things which the beasts mouth spake, are his blasphemies against God, as { 2 Thessalonians 2:4}

and his tabernacle

that Isaiah , the churches of God.

And power was given unto him to continue forty and two months

that Isaiah , a thousand two hundred and sixty prophetical days. See the exposition, { Revelation 11:2-7} See KNOLLYS: Revelation 11:2[ff] See KNOLLYS: Revelation 11:3 See KNOLLYS: Revelation 11:4 See KNOLLYS: Revelation 11:5See KNOLLYS: Revelation 11:7 and Revelation 12:6. See KNOLLYS: Revelation 12:6


Verse 7

Revelation 13:7

Revelation 13:7-8 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

God permitted the devil, who gave the beast his seat, that Isaiah , his throne and power, to stir him up

to make war with the saints

that Isaiah , the woman and her seed, Revelation 12:14-17 especially the two prophetical witnesses of Jesus Christ, Revelation 11:7 And to overcome them, and kill them. See the exposition thereof. See KNOLLYS: Revelation 11:7

And power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

The beast's kingdom was greater, and his dominion of farther extent than any of the other seven heads. For all the inhabiters of the earth shall worship this beast;

whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb

(that Isaiah , all the non-elect)

slain from the foundation of the world;

that Isaiah , ordained and decreed from eternity to be slain. Namely, our Lord Jesus Christ, called the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. { John 1:29-36} They are safe, being sealed, { 2 Timothy 2:19} but the non-elect are in danger to be deceived and deluded by false prophets, apostles, and teachers, who are Satan's ministers, { 2 Corinthians 11:13-15} of whom our Saviour testified, { Matthew 24:24-25} and also his apostles. { 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; 2 Peter 2:1-4}


Verse 9

Revelation 13:9

Revelation 13:9-10 If any man have an ear, let him hear10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

This exhortation of our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, implies two things; first, that the matter we are to hear is of great moment, and ought diligently to be hearkened unto; as Isaiah 55:3; Psalm 8:5-9. Secondly, some men's affected deafness, and indisposition to hear what the Lord speaks by his prophets and messengers unto them. { Zechariah 7:11-13} That which Christ would have them to hear, is expressed { Revelation 13:10}

He that leadeth into captivity, shall go into captivity; he that killeth with the sword, must be killed with the sword.

These words contain a commination of the righteous judgments of God relating to mystery Babylon, as was threatened prophetically. { Psalm 137:7-9; Isaiah 33:1-5; Revelation 18:6-8}

Here is the patience and the faith of the saints;

that Isaiah , the exercise and trial of the patience and faith of the saints, (who are sanctified believers) under the persecutions and tribulations, which the beast, the great whore, and the false prophet, will inflict upon them; during the time of forty and two months, that the gentiles, that Isaiah , the idolatrous papists shall tread the holy city, that Isaiah , the Church of God, under foot; during which time of forty and two months, the beast will exercise his coercive power, in persecuting the saints. { Revelation 11:2; Revelation 13:5}


Verse 11

Revelation 13:11

Revelation 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

The same Roman papal kingdom, is here said to be

another beast

because he is otherwise described: that beast rose out of the sea, and this beast came

up out of the earth.

But as in { Daniel 7:16-17} Daniel in his vision, saw four beasts come up from the sea, { Daniel 7:3; Daniel 7:17} the same shall arise out of the earth. So here { Revelation 13:11} is the same beast.

And he had two horns like a Lamb.

This seemeth to be another difference, not real, but in shew; another shape, form, and representation, but yet he was the same beast, though of another head, the beast of the eighth head, with two horns; yet of the seventh head with ten horns.

And he spake as a dragon

his speech betrayeth him to be a devouring beast, and not a Lamb. For though he pretends to be for Christ, the Lamb of God, (as his vicar general,) both in respect of his political and ecclesiastical power, which is his

two horns;

yet he exerciseth both for the dragon, that old serpent called the devil and Satan. { Revelation 20:2}


Verse 12

Revelation 13:12

Revelation 13:12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

The beast had his power given him by the dragon, { Revelation 13:2} here he exerciseth his power; and he spake as a dragon.

And he exercised all the power of the first beast

both political and ecclesiastical; for he made war against the emperors, deposed kings; and his holiness also exercised ecclesiastical power to excommunicate churches, synods, counsels, bishops, kings, and emperors.

And causeth the earth, and them that dwell therein, to worship the first beast.

By the dwellers of the earth, we are to understand those inhabiters of the earth, whose names are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life. See Revelation 13:8

whose deadly wound was healed.

The beast had seven heads; that Isaiah , imperial sovereign power and dominion over the earth. And his seventh head had a wound by a sword, { Revelation 13:14} that Isaiah , by the sword of the Barbarians, who waged war against the Roman Empire, did sack and burn Rome, and forced the Pope of Rome to fly to Vienna, as historians testify. This deadly wound was healed, when the Barbarian armies were driven out of Italy, and the Pope returned to Rome again; and was by the Emperor Phocas made universal bishop, and head of the Catholic Church (so called) about the year426 of Christ, and666 from the first beginning of the fourth metal kingdom.


Verse 13

Revelation 13:13

Revelation 13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

Here we have a discovery of Antichrist's grand design, how he made the inhabitants of the earth worship the beast, and make an image of the beast, viz. By working great wonders

in the sight of men;

as Christ and his apostles did miracles and wonders to confirm their doctrine, that the people might believe. { John 4:48; Hebrews 2:4} So Antichrist and his false teachers, the Pope and his false prophets, do wonders to deceive the people, { Matthew 24:24; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10} whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders.


Verse 14

Revelation 13:14

Revelation 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

The man of sin, the Antichrist, is a deceiver. { 2 John 1:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10} And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. That Isaiah , those inhabiters of the earth, { Revelation 8:13} whose names are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life, who are worshippers of the beast. { Revelation 13:8}

Saying to them that dwell on the earth,

that Isaiah , requiring and commanding them to

make an image to the beast,

or of the beast, as Revelation 13:15. What the image to, or of the beast Isaiah , the reader may understand in the exposition of the15th verse KNOLLYS: Revelation 13:15

which had the wound by a sword and did live.

See KNOLLYS: Revelation 13:3 One of his heads was wounded.


Verse 15

Revelation 13:15

Revelation 13:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

And he had power;

that Isaiah , the beast that had his first rise out of the sea of the troubles of the Roman Empire, and his second rise out of the earth; that Isaiah , the inhabiters of the earth, who worshipped the beast, and wondered after him.

To give life unto the image of the beast;

that Isaiah , reviving spirit and life,

that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause, etc.

He spake by his edicts, and caused by his coercive power, and tyranny, whereby it was prohibited to those that would not acknowledge the Popes supremacy, to keep house, or kindle a fire, etc. Durham page561etc. Decretum Martini in fine Consilii Constantiensis, p565.

That as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed;

See KNOLLYS: Revelation 11:7 that Isaiah , either physically martyred and murdered by shedding their blood, and destroying their lives; or else mystically, as the two witnesses were killed. { Revelation 11:7-11} See the exposition thereof. See KNOLLYS: Revelation 11:7 [ff] See KNOLLYS: Revelation 11:8 See KNOLLYS: Revelation 11:9 See KNOLLYS: Revelation 11:11


Verse 16

Revelation 13:16

Revelation 13:16-18 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the Mark , or the name of the beast, or the number of his name18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

In these words we are to observe four particulars. First, the maker of this edict or law.

He causeth;

that Isaiah , the beast that hath ten horns, crowned; and two horns like a Lamb; He is the beast of the eighth head, and is of the seven. { Revelation 17:8-11} See the exposition; See KNOLLYS: Revelation 17:8 [ff] See KNOLLYS: Revelation 17:9 See KNOLLYS: Revelation 17:10 See KNOLLYS: Revelation 17:11 that is to say, the Roman papal dominion, and especially, the universal head of the Catholic Church, the Bishop of Rome, so declared by the Emperor Phocas, and so acknowledged, to be, by the professed subjection of all the Papists. Secondly, the matter of the edict or law, that the beast doth impose, and compel obedience unto.

He causeth all men to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads;

And also, that they have

the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Thirdly, the persons on whom he imposeth this his edict or law.

He causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.

Fourthly, the penalty to be inflicted upon him that will not submit to that law of the beast

And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the Mark , or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

And in the last verse of this chapter, { Revelation 13:18} we are exhorted to count the number of the beast. And first, we are told, that it is the number of a Prayer of Manasseh , namely, of the man of sin, { 2 Thessalonians 2:3} The son of perdition, who goeth into Perdition. { Revelation 17:11} The eighth king or kind of government; that Isaiah , the Roman papal dominion. Secondly, we are there told, that his number is

six hundred threescore and six.

Thirdly, that Hebrews , that would count this number of the beast, must be endued with wisdom and understanding.

Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast.

The true exposition of these three verses doth consist in the right interpretation of those three things expressed in the seventeenth verse, which are the Mark , the name of the beast, and the number of his name. For these three things have a mutual relation to the beast, and to his image, and to their worshippers; and also one to another. Compare Revelation 13:15-17 with Revelation 14:9-11 and seriously consider the exposition of both those scriptures, and the Lord give understanding.

By

the name of the beast,

we are to understand, that by which he is commonly known; that Isaiah , his sovereign power and supremacy in all matters, and over all persons, both political and ecclesiastical, as Lord and head of the Catholic Church on earth; and the only potentate, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. For he opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, { 2 Thessalonians 2:4} Shewing himself that he is God. And herein the Pope of Rome is Antichrist, and his poli-ecclesiastic dominion is anti-Christian. For God hath set our Lord Jesus Christ far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named. { Ephesians 1:20-22; Philippians 2:9-11}

By the mark received in the right hand and in the forehead, we are to understand the profession of the faith of a Roman Catholic, by and through which he doth acknowledge his subjection, and allegiance to the universal headship of the Pope of Rome. This definition of the mark received in the right hand and in the forehead agreeth, first, omni, to every subject in the beast's kingdom; for he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond to receive a mark. { Revelation 13:16-17} Though all are not Cardinals, all are not archbishops, all are not Lord Bishops, yet all are Catholics, all agree in this, to profess the universal headship of the Bishop of Rome. This is not a maxime communis. Secondly, the mark agreeth Soli, only to such as are subjects of the beast's kingdom, and to none else. Here is not a maxime propria. Thirdly, the mark agreeth semper, at all times, { Revelation 16:2; Revelation 20:4} of the beast's dominion from the beginning to the end of his kingdom. The name of universal headship is that which giveth foundation to the mark or profession, a priori. And the mark or profession is that which declareth the name, or universal headship a posteriori; and therefore it is called caragma tou onomatov autou, the mark of his name. { Revelation 14:11} And receive the mark of his name. The punishments there threatened shew how great a sin it is against Christ openly to profess subjection to the universal headship of the Pope. It was always dangerous to worship the beast or his image, or receive his mark; but now it will be damnable. { Revelation 14:9-11} It is the peculiar and incommunicable pre-eminence of our Lord Jesus Christ, to be the only head of the Church of God. { Colossians 1:18} Therefore what man so ever doth ascribe the universal headship of the church to any but our Lord Jesus Christ, doth (as much as in him lies) dethrone Christ, and put him from his kingly and sovereign dignity, authority and kingdom.

By

the number of the beast

we are to understand the year six hundred threescore and six. { Revelation 13:18} Some expositors have thought this number to be the finishing or ending time of the beast's kingdom; but they were mistaken; for it was foretold John to be the beginning of time of the beast's universal headship. Now the wisdom given to understand this time and number of the beast, is to make a just account of the time from the beginning of the Roman Kingdom unto the six hundred sixty sixth year thereof; when the Emperor Phocas, by his edict, declared the Bishop of Rome to be the universal head of the church; which was Boniface the third.

The sum of all is this, first, if you consider the papacy as a state or government, persecuting and afflicting the people of God under their dominion, both Jews and gentiles, so it is called the beast. Secondly, if you consider the universal headship (where in the form and essence of that kingdom and dominion doth consist) that Isaiah , the name of the beast. Thirdly, if you consider, that universal headship as a representative of that sovereign majesty that was lost in Rome Imperial, and now repaired in Rome Papal, that is the image of the beast. Fourthly, if you consider the public profession of subjection unto the universal headship of the Bishop of Rome, that is the mark of the beast. Fifthly, if you consider the time when this universal headship began visibly and notoriously to appear, to be declared, owned and worshipped, that is the number of the beast. All these are distinct apocalyptical considerations, touching the beast.

 


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Bibliography Information
Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-13.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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