Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 13:1

And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Blasphemy;   Crown;   Horn;   Sea;   Seven;   Vision;   Scofield Reference Index - Beast (the);   Beast the;   Roman;   World-Empire;   Thompson Chain Reference - Blasphemy-Profanity;   Profanity;   The Topic Concordance - Empires/world Powers;   Name;   War/weapons;   Worship;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Horns;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Beasts;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Apocalyptic literature;   Seven;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Animals;   Destroy, Destruction;   Mark of the Beast;   New Heavens and a New Earth;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Antichrist;   Order;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Blasphemy;   Crown;   Diadem;   Sea, the;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Crown;   Number;   Smyrna;   Tyre;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Beast;   Devil, Satan, Evil, Demonic;   Diadem;   Emperor Worship;   Horn;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Antichrist;   Crown;   Dualism;   Revelation, Book of;   Sea;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Antichrist ;   Apocalypse;   Beast;   Blasphemy ;   Horn ;   Numbers;   Sea ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Beast;   Crown;   Horns;   Lucifer ;   Numbers as Symbols;   Prophets, the;   Roman Empire;   Sea, the;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Antichrist;   Smith Bible Dictionary - An'tichrist;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Head;   Horn;   Rise (up);   Sea;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Antichrist;   Blasphemy;   Crown;   Diadem;   Horn;   Revelation of John:;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Apocalypse;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea - Before we can proceed in the interpretation of this chapter, it will be highly necessary to ascertain the meaning of the prophetic symbol beast, as the want of a proper understanding of this term has probably been one reason why so many discordant hypotheses have been published to the world. In this investigation it is impossible to resort to a higher authority than Scripture, for the Holy Ghost is his own interpreter. What is therefore meant by the term beast in any one prophetic vision, the same species of thing must be represented by the term whenever it is used in a similar manner in any other part of the sacred oracles. Having therefore laid this foundation, the angel's interpretation of the last of Daniel's four beasts need only be produced, an account of which is given in the seventh chapter of this prophet. Daniel being very desirous to "know the truth of the fourth beast which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, and of the ten horns that were on his head," the angel thus interprets the vision: "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise," etc. In this scripture it is plainly declared that the fourth beast should be the fourth kingdom upon earth; consequently, the four beasts seen by Daniel are four kingdoms: hence the term beast is the prophetic symbol for a kingdom.

As to the nature of the kingdom which is represented by the term beast, we shall obtain no inconsiderable light in examining the most proper meaning of the original word חיה chaiyah . This Hebrew word is translated in the Septuagint by the Greek word θηριον, and both words signify what we term a wild beast; and the latter is the one used by St. John in the Apocalypse. Taking up the Greek word θηριον in this sense, it is fully evident, if a power be represented in the prophetical writings under the notion of a wild beast, that the power so represented must partake of the nature of a wild beast. Hence an earthly belligerent power is evidently designed. And the comparison is peculiarly appropriate; for as several species of wild beasts carry on perpetual warfare with the animal world, so most governments, influenced by ambition, promote discord and depopulation. And, also, as the carnivorous wild beast acquires its strength and magnitude by preying upon the feebler animals; so most earthly monarchies are raised up by the sword, and derive their political consequence from the unsuccessful resistance to the contending nations. The kingdom of God, on the other hand, is represented as "a stone cut out of the mountain without hands;" and is never likened to a beast, because it is not raised up by the sword as all other secular powers are, but sanctifies the persons under its subjection; in which last particular it essentially differs from all other dominations.

This beast is said to rise up out of the sea, in which particular it corresponds with the four beasts of Daniel; the sea is therefore the symbol of a great multitude of nations, as has already been proved; and the meaning is, that every mighty empire is raised upon the ruins of a great number of nations, which it has successfully contended against and incorporated with its dominions. The sea, here, is doubtless the same against the inhabiters of which a wo was denounced, Revelation 12:12; for St. John was standing upon the sand of the sea when the vision changed from the woman and the dragon to that recorded in this chapter. It therefore follows that the kingdom or empire here represented by the beast, is that which sprung up out of the ruins of the Western Roman empire.

Having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns - The beast here described is the Latin empire, which supported the Romish or Latin Church; for it has upon his horns ten crowns, i.e., is an empire composed of ten distinct monarchies in the interest of the Latin Church. See the heads and horns fully explained in the notes on Revelation 17:10; (note), Revelation 17:12; (note), and Revelation 17:16; (note).

As the phrases Latin Church, Latin empire, etc., are not very generally understood at present, and will occur frequently in the course of the notes on this and the 17th chapter, it will not be improper here to explain them. During the period from the division of the Roman empire into those of the east and west, till the final dissolution of the western empire, the subjects of both empires were equally known by the name of Romans. Soon after this event the people of the west lost almost entirely the name of Romans, and were denominated after their respective kingdoms which were established upon the ruins of the western empire. But as the eastern empire escaped the ruin which fell upon the western, the subjects of the former still retained the name of Romans, and called their dominion Ἡ Ῥωμαΐκη βασιλεια, the Roman empire; by which name this monarchy was known among them till its final dissolution in 1453, by Mohammed II., the Turkish sultan. But the subjects of the eastern emperor, ever since the time of Charlemagne or before, (and more particularly in the time of the crusades and subsequently), called the western people, or those under the influence of the Romish Church, Latins, and their Church the Latin Church. And the western people, in return, denominated the eastern Church the Greek Church, and the members of it Greeks. Hence the division of the Christian Church into those of the Greek and Latin. For a confirmation of what has just been said the reader may consult the Byzantine writers, where he will find the appellations Ῥωμαιοι and Λατινοι, Romans and Latins, used in the sense here mentioned in very numerous instances. The members of the Romish Church have not been named Latins by the Greeks alone; this term is also used in the public instruments drawn up by the general popish councils, as may be instanced in the following words, which form a part of a decree of the council of Basil, dated Sept. 26, 1437: Copiosissimam subventionem pro unione Graecorum cums Latinis, "A very great convention for the union of the Greeks with the Latins." Even in the very papal bulls this appellation has been acknowledged, as may be seen in the edict of Pope Eugenius IV., dated Sept. 17, 1437, where in one place mention is made of Ecclesiae Latinorum quaesita unio, "the desired union of the Church of the Latins;" and in another place we read, Nec superesse modum alium prosequendi operis tam pii, et servandi latinae Ecclesiae honoris, "that no means might be left untried of prosecuting so pious a work, and of preserving the honor of the Latin Church." See Corps Diplomatique, tom. iii., pp. 32, 35. In a bull of the same pontiff, dated Sept., 1439, we have Sanctissima Latinorum et Graecorum unio, "the most holy union of the Greeks with the Latins." See Bail's Summa Conciliorum, in loc. By the Latin empire is meant the whole of the powers which support the Latin Church.

And upon his heads the name of blasphemy - Ονουα βλασφημιας· A name of blasphemy. This has been variously understood. Jerome and Prosper give it as their opinion that the name of blasphemy consists in the appellation urbs aeterna, eternal city, applied to Rome; and modern commentators refer it to the idolatrous worship of the Romans and papists. Before we attempt to ascertain the meaning of this passage, it must be first defined what the Holy Spirit means by a name of blasphemy. Blasphemy, in Scripture, signifies impious speaking when applied to God, and injurious speaking when directed against our neighbor. A name of blasphemy is the prostitution of a sacred name to an unholy purpose. This is evident from the 9th verse of the second chapter of the Apocalypse, where God says, "I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan." These wicked men, by calling themselves Jews, blasphemed the name, i.e., used it in an injurious sense; for he Only is a Jew who is one inwardly. Hence the term Jews applied to the synagogue of Satan is a name of blasphemy, i.e. a sacred name blasphemed. A name of blasphemy, or a blasphemous appellation, is said to be upon all the seven heads of the beast. To determine what this name is, the meaning of the seven heads in this place must be ascertained. If the reader refer to the notes on Revelation 17:9-11, he will find that the heads are explained to have a double meaning, viz., that they signify the seven electorates of the German empire, and also seven forms of Latin government. As this is the first place in which the heads of the beast are mentioned with any description, it is reasonable to expect that that signification of the heads which is first in order in the angel's interpretation, Revelation 17:9, must be what is here intended. This is, "the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth;" the name of blasphemy will consequently be found upon the seven electorates of Germany. This, therefore, can be no other than that which was common, not only to the electorates but also to the whole empire of Germany, or that well known one of Sacrum Imperium Romanum, "The Sacred (or Holy) Roman Empire." Here is a sacred appellation blasphemed by its application to the principal power of the beast. No kingdom can properly be called holy but that of Jesus; therefore it would be blasphemy to unite this epithet with any other power. But it must be horridly blasphemous to apply it to the German empire, the grand supporter of antichrist from his very rise to temporal authority. Can that empire be holy which has killed the saints, which has professed and supported with all its might an idolatrous system of worship? It is impossible. Therefore its assumption of sacred or holy (which appellation was originally given to the empire from its being the main support of what is termed the holy catholic Church, the emperor being styled, on this account, Christ's temporal vicar upon earth: see Caesarini Furstenerii Tractatus De Suprematu Principum Germaniae, cc. 31, 32) is, in the highest sense the word can be taken, a name of blasphemy. The name of blasphemy is very properly said to be upon the seven heads of the beast, or seven electorates of the German empire, because the electors are styled Sacri Imperii Principes Electores, Princes, Electors of the Holy Empire; Sacri Romani Imperii Electores, Electors of the Holy Roman Empire.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-13.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And I stood upon the sand of the sea - The sand upon the shore of the sea. That is, he seemed to stand there, and then had a vision of a beast rising out of the waters. The reason of this representation may, perhaps, have been that among the ancients the sea was regarded as the appropriate place for the origin of huge and terrible monsters (Prof. Stuart, in loco). This vision strongly resembles that in Daniel 7:2 ff, where the prophet saw four beasts coming up in succession from the sea. See the notes on that place. In Daniel, the four winds of heaven are described as striving upon the great sea Daniel 13:2, and the agitated ocean represents the nations in commotion, or in a state of disorder and anarchy, and the four beasts represent four successive kingdoms that would spring up. See the notes on Daniel 7:2. In the passage before us, John indeed describes no storm or tempest; but the sea itself, as compared with the land (see the notes on Revelation 13:11), represents an agitated or unsettled state of things, and we should naturally. look for that in the rise of the power here referred to. If the reference be to the civil or secular Roman power that has always appeared in connection with the papacy, and that has always followed its designs, then it is true that it rose amidst the agitations of the world, and from a state of commotion that might well be represented by the restless ocean. The sea in either case naturally describes a nation or people, for this image is frequently so employed in the Scriptures. Compare, as above, Daniel 7:2, and Psalm 65:7; Jeremiah 51:42; Isaiah 60:5; Revelation 10:2. The natural idea, therefore, in this passage, would be that the power that was represented by the “beast” would spring up among the nations, when restless or unsettled, like the waves of the ocean.

And saw a beast - Daniel saw four in succession Daniel 7:3-7, all different, yet succeeding each other; John saw two in succession, yet strongly resembling each other, Revelation 13:1, Revelation 13:11. On the general meaning of the word “beast” - θηρίον thērion- see the notes on Revelation 11:7. The beast here is evidently a symbol of some power or kingdom that would arise in future times. See the notes on Daniel 7:3.

Having seven heads - So also the dragon is represented in Revelation 12:3. See the notes on that passage. The representation there is of Satan, as the source of all the power lodged in the two beasts that John subsequently saw. In Revelation 17:9, referring substantially to the same vision, it is said that “the seven heads are seven mountains”; and there can be no difficulty, therefore, in referring this to the seven hills on which the city of Rome was built (compare the notes on Revelation 12:3), and consequently this must be regarded as designed, in some way, to be a representation of Rome.

And ten horns - See this also explained in the notes on Revelation 12:3; compare also the more extended illustration in the notes on Daniel 7:25, following The reference here is to Rome, or the one Roman power, contemplated as made up of ten subordinate kingdoms, and therefore subsequently to the invasion of the Northern hordes, and to the time when the papacy was about to rise. Compare Revelation 17:12; “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings (marg. “kingdoms”), which have received no kingdom as yet, but receive power as kings with the beast.” For a full illustration of this, see the copious notes at the close of the seventh chapter of Daniel.

And upon his horns ten crowns - Greek, “ten diadems.” See the notes on Revelation 12:3. These indicated dominion or authority. In Revelation 12:3, the “dragon is represented as having seven diadems on his head”; here, the beast is represented as having ten. The dragon there represents the Roman domination, as such, the seven-hilled, or seven-headed power, and, therefore, properly described as having seven diadems; the beast here represents the Roman power, as now broken up into the ten dominations which sprung up (see the notes on Daniel as above) from the one original Roman power, and that became henceforward the supporters of the papacy, and, therefore, properly represented here as having ten diadems.

And upon his heads the name of blasphemy - That is, the whole power was blasphemous in its claims and pretensions. The word “blasphemy” here seems to be used in the sense that titles and attributes were claimed by it which belonged only to God. On the meaning of the word “blasphemy,” see the notes on Matthew 9:3; Matthew 26:65. The meaning here is, that each one of these heads appeared to have a frontlet, with an inscription that was blasphemous, or that ascribed some attribute to this power that properly belonged to God; and that the whole power thus assumed was in derogation of the attributes and claims of God. In regard to the propriety of this description considered as applicable to the papacy, see the notes on 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-13.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

REV:13

This chapter has the two visions of the two remarkable beasts which rose out of the sea and out of the earth as allies and helpers of the dragon Satan. "He stood upon the sand of the sea" (Revelation 13:1) suggests the summoning of these beasts by Satan to aid his war against the saints of God; but it is incorrect to suppose that Satan, in any sense, either created or produced these monsters, called by Moffatt, "polycephalous brutes."[1] He simply encouraged and organized the emerging tendency of a human creation in rebellion against God.

The beast out of the sea symbolically represents the great earthly governments which repeatedly in human history have exalted themselves against God and against his people (Revelation 13:1-10); and the beast out of the earth represents false, blasphemous religion reaching from the shadows of Eden to the end of time (Revelation 13:11-18). Before beginning our exegesis of the chapter, it will be appropriate to give the reasons that underlie the interpretations presented.

THE BEAST OUT OF THE SEA

This beast is perverted government used by Satan as an instrument against God's people, especially the seven great universal dominions in which the saints of God were persecuted. Despite the certainty with which so many identify this beast as the Roman Empire, we are certain that much more is meant, While true enough that this beast was indeed the Roman Empire at the time John wrote, the mention of the "seven heads" indicates a wider meaning. Some have viewed these as seven Roman emperors; but the fatal objection to this is that, "It was not merely one of the heads that was slain, but the beast himself received the mortal wound (Revelation 13:3,12,14)."[2] There were a hundred emperors, but only seven heads. The notion of Moffatt and others to the effect that the mortal wound of this beast was, "Nero's death with the bloody interregnum after it (a wound to the state)!"[3] is totally inadequate. Nero's death was not fatal to anything except himself. It certainly was not a mortal wound of the Roman Empire, but a blessing! The empire was not harmed at all by his death, but benefited. The true identity of the beast which recovered from the fatal wound is discovered in two considerations: (1) the connection of the prophecy with Daniel 7, and (2) the identity of the seven heads.

(1) Regarding Daniel 7, Daniel's vision of the four beasts like a lion, a leopard, a bear, and then another "diverse from the others" (Daniel 7:4-7) must be interpreted as four successive world governments, such as Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. John's vision here is of a beast who is a composite of those in Daniel, requiring the conclusion that a great, continuous world government is meant, exercising an authority stretching over a period of centuries, with hundreds of rulers and emperors. To limit these visions in Revelation to a bare sixty-five years of European history is to ignore the cosmic dimensions of this prophecy. Of course, this is to be expected of those who deny any cosmic dimensions and repudiate any conception of predictive prophecy in the New Testament.

This writer believes that we are here studying a divine book, that it is inspired, and that every word of it is God's truth. To this point in our interpretation of Revelation, we have refrained from citing historical fulfillments of earlier portions of the prophecy, despite the fact of there having been many such fulfillments; but this plain and undeniable connection with Daniel's prophecy of the setting up of God's everlasting kingdom in "the days of those kings" (the days of the Roman kings) (Daniel 2:44); that is, during the time of the fourth great world empire, requires the discernment that future history is emphatically prophesied in this chapter. Nor does this rob the chapter of its relevance to the generation first addressed by the apostle. They were living in the days of Daniel's fourth beast, that of the Roman Empire; and "the mystery of iniquity" (2 Thessalonians 2:7) which would ultimately culminate in the second beast (the one out of the earth) was already working.

(2) The identity of the "seven heads." Regarding this, Pieters has an extensive study of various views of their identity:[4]

The seven forms of government under which Rome existed; however, there were only six of these!

Seven prominent emperors of Rome during the latter part of the first century B.C. and the first part of the first century A.D. Of course, there is no agreement whatever on which seven!

The seven heads are to be understood not numerically, but symbolically. "Rome must have its full complement of kings" (the view of Beckwith).

The seven heads are seven world-kingdoms hostile to God and to his people, namely, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and a seventh to arise at a future time after Revelation was written.

Pieters referred to this as "a jumble of confusion," but reluctantly accepted the view (stated last, above) that, "the heads represent the great world empires of which five were past and the sixth was flourishing when the book was written."[5] Exactly the same conclusion has been reached by this writer, but with enthusiasm and confidence. No other explanation ever offered fits the prophecy so exactly and circumstantially as does this one. These seven world empires are indeed what is symbolized by the seven heads. Like practically everything else in Revelation, the seven heads are symbolical; and the interpretation of them here does not rule out the possibility that at some future time another world empire could develop; but significantly only seven have appeared in the entire history of the world up to the present time, a fact that certainly supports the view we have accepted.

"The ten horns" specifically identified later as ten future kingdoms (Revelation 17:12) represent this sea-beast in his final phase, not any longer as a worldwide empire, but as many multiple states (the ten is symbolical), none of them able to wield universal authority like the "seven heads," but still exercising great authority and power to persecute and destroy God's people. These are called the eighth head (Revelation 17:11). Nations like Russia and China today are just as much a part of this beast as was Nebuchadnezzar when he commanded all people to fall down and worship a golden image of himself (Daniel 3:5,6). An essential element in the personality of this beast is humanism, man worshipping himself.

THE BEAST OUT OF THE EARTH

In a word this beast is false religion opposed to God and persecuting God's people. The widespread willingness of scholars to identify this beast as the pagan priesthood of the "emperor cult" is apparent in almost every commentary one may pick up; but such a limited view does not fill the bill at all and cannot possibly be the correct interpretation. "This beast, called also the false prophet (Revelation 16:13; 19:20), symbolizes false religion and false philosophy in whichever form these appear throughout the entire dispensation."[6] This is surely correct; and views like that of Barclay who limited it to "the organization of Caesar worship"[7] are much too restricted, as are also those interpretations that would make this beast "self-deceit,"[8] "the proconsul sent yearly by the emperor to govern the province,"[9] etc. All such interpretations are focused upon details that in the large view are unimportant. "This vision represents a great movement already in progress";[10] it represents the "capture of organized religion to help promote the aims of the first beast";[11] "it includes the papacy (2 Thessalonians 2), but does not portray it separately but combined with all forms of a similar nature in the whole world."[12] We shall deal with the papal aspect of this beast later.

Especially important is the fact of this beast's period of operation being "forty and two months," which without any doubt whatever means "the entire Christian dispensation." This was the period of the first beast's operation (the sea-beast); and the operation of the land-beast is coextensive with that of the first. Thus it is no isolated or provincial event which could be signified. No. These two beasts, both instruments of Satan, are the two great enemies of God's people throughout history; namely, (1) the wicked, perverted government, and (2) false or apostate religion. Neither the world nor the church will ever be through with either one of these beasts until the end of time.

THE MORTAL WOUND THAT DID NOT KILL

In order to interpret this chapter, the question of the healed "death-stroke" (Revelation 13:3) is crucial. Scholars have misunderstood it as follows:

The assassination of Julius Caesar.[13]

The illness of Caligula.[14]

The prohibition of paganism by Theodosius.[15]

The coming of Christ.[16]

The Christianizing of the Roman Empire.

The rebellion of Galba, Otho and Vitellius.[17]

The battle of Waterloo. The forerunner of the magazine Christian Herald published a book on this in 1860![18]

The actual death of the Antichrist and his subsequent resurrection from the dead (!) near the end of time![19]

Nero himself, the suicide who was raised from the dead (!) in a myth! This infamous "Nero redivivus" interpretation is parroted by so many scholars that it would be tedious to mention them; but of all the alleged interpretations of this question, this is the most worthless of all of them. In the first place, no such myth ever existed, except in the minds of imaginative scholars. Zahn was certain that when Revelation was written, no such superstition was in existence even if Revelation was written in 95 A.D.![20] Furthermore, as Pieters said, such an interpretation is "wholly incompatible with any believing acceptance of the book as a genuine prophecy; for the things foretold, if this interpretation is accepted, did not take place."[21]

The persecuting policy of Nero revived by Domitian.SIZE>

What is the actual meaning of the mortal wound that did not kill?

This part of the symbol was fulfilled when the barbarian hordes from the north swept down upon Rome, and the empire came to an end in 476 A.D .... This ended the western part of the pagan empire. The imperial government received its death-blow.[22]

But that death-stroke was healed. It did not mean the end of Roman persecutions of God's people. Where the first beast left off, the second took over. The old pagan empire was revived in a Christianized form, "The Holy Roman Empire"; and all of the arrogance, hatred, and persecution of the first beast was restored. The fatal wound was healed. The sixth head of the sea-beast (Rome) was fatally wounded; but the worldwide government continued as a religious power. Without this religious phenomenon, Roman authority would have perished as totally as did that of Nineveh and Tyre, or Assyria and Babylon. That religious power, of course, was the apostate form of Christianity known as the Roman Catholic Church. One thing should be particularly noted: there has been no other worldwide authority in the history of the world which might logically be called a seventh head of the sea-beast.

This brings us to consider the essentially Christian nature of this second beast, the pseudo-Christian nature of it. This beast was no mere "committee set up in the Asia Minor to enforce emperor worship,"[23] nor "a proconsul sent out every year"[24] for the same purpose, nor a provincial council made up of local pagan priests;[25] but, "It was an institution devoted to the empire on its religious side."[26] Its operations bore a genuine resemblance to Christianity, as attested by the lamb's horns that crowned it. The essential nature of it manifested all the outward appearance of Christianity; its function was primarily that of conducting worship; "And this priestly role identifies the second beast as a religious power."[27] In John's day, of course, the pagan priesthood were a manifestation of this beast; but several things forbid our accepting the priests of paganism as the principal identity. In the first place, where were their "lamb's horns," their outward resemblance of true Christianity? Furthermore, the pagan priesthood perished before the sixth head (Rome) was mortally wounded in 476 A.D. The whole structure of paganism had already collapsed before Rome received the death-stroke, the Edict of Theodosius having previously closed all pagan temples throughout the empire in 389 A.D. The pagan religions were not visibly present when the empire received the death-stroke; but this second beast was present in the form of the apostate Medieval Church, which restored all the old forms of the state, crowned Charlemagne as the head of it, and by religious devices continued to exercise worldwide authority and dominion. These historical facts are clearly foreshadowed in Revelation 13. This "second beast," the land-beast, is not "The Antichrist," nor "the lawless one" (2 Thessalonians 2), but that worldwide, religious ally of wicked human government used repeatedly to persecute and destroy God's people, as, for example, in the Spanish Inquisition.

THE GREAT APOSTASY

The great apostasy foretold in the New Testament must be viewed as a significant manifestation of the entity symbolized by this second beast, an apostasy by no means limited to the papacy, but certainly inclusive of it. Measuring a chapter as, on the average, about twenty verses, there are at least seven whole chapters of the New Testament devoted to that phenomenon called the apostasy; and, if Revelation is the kind of book it is devoutly believed to be by this writer, there is no way for that apostasy to have been omitted from its pages. Where are the eyes of those scholars who can write a whole commentary on Revelation and never even mention it? What kind of astigmatism can be blind to the plainest references to it, and what kind of deafness is it that cannot hear the thunder of these middle chapters of Revelation? When we speak of the apostate church, we are not speaking of the devoted millions who are deceived within her ranks, nor of the countless faithful souls within her who may be doing their best to follow Christ. The apostasy is not The Catholic Church, but the religious apparatus which controls and exploits it, the secular state which the hierarchy created and controls, and the worldwide organization by which their tyranny and control are enforced. That is the apostasy, at least a significant part of it, but not the whole of it. A mere glance at what that religious apparatus has done historically should convince any thoughtful person that an apostasy of incredible dimensions did indeed overtake the historical church. Of what does that apostasy consist?

1. They placed a human being on a pedestal of authority above all Christians, receiving him as "the head of the church" instead of Christ.

2. This so-called "pope's" word is honored even in its contradiction of what Jesus Christ said.

3. They took the word of God away from the human race and burned the men who dared to translate it for the common people, as witness the ashes of Tyndale and Huss.

4. They took the wine of the communion away from all Christians and drank it up themselves.

5. They tortured, tormented, burned, destroyed, and consigned to hell countless saints of God throughout the whole Medieval period, during which they alone had a copy of the sacred Scriptures. The Spanish Inquisition is the only example of this that needs to be cited; and, significantly, the principal architect of that diabolical apparatus is still revered as a saint in the apostate church.

6. They corrupted Christianity by the consecration of sacred images, the introduction of Mariolatry, and the acceptance of so-called saints (dead Christians) as mediators between God and man, thus denying the true office of Christ our Lord (1 Timothy 2:5).

7. They invented the evil doctrine of purgatory, the greatest fund-raising system ever devised.

8. They sold for money the right to commit sin, in that notorious sale of indulgences that financed the Crusades and many of their cathedrals.

9. They condemned and executed the great translators of the word of God who dared to challenge their wicked usurpation of power.

10. They forbid to marry and command to abstain from meats, specific actions associated with the apostasy (1 Timothy 4:3).

11. They perverted and changed the ordinance of Christian baptism.

12. They invented so-called "sacraments" for the purpose of solidifying their control over people's lives; but of the "seven," only two of them have Greek names, effectively divorcing the other five from any connection whatever with true Christianity (They are not in the Greek New Testament).

13. They have courted the favor of earthly governments and maintained a relationship with them described in Revelation 17 as "committing fornication" with them; and this is going on now.

14. They have arrogated to themselves alone the right of determination of who is or is not saved, and have ruthlessly enforced their decisions beyond the gates of cemeteries all over the world. Try to find the grave of a dead Protestant in Rome!

15. They have brazenly claimed the right to forgive sins, require penance, and grant absolution. Satan himself has as much right!

The above is only a very small list of a much greater one showing how extensive an apostasy actually occurred in the historical church, and which is so dramatically foretold in the symbolism of this second beast. What is to be thought of the "Christian scholars" who are either ignorant of this, or who do not have the guts to mention it? Again, we deny any vindictive or unchristian hatred of Catholicism. See our article extolling the virtues of "The Great Whore" in Revelation 18. Dear members of this writer's family are members of the Catholic Church, as well as many precious and devoted friends; but, in this work, we are endeavoring to present the teachings of the sacred New Testament; and the word of the Lord leaves no doubt whatever with regard to the apostasy of the hierarchical apparatus which misdirected the historical church. Other characteristics of it will be mentioned in the notes on the text of the chapter, below.

THE CHRISTIAN VIEW OF THE STATE

This view in Revelation of great world-governments full of blasphemy, utterly opposed to God and Christ, persecuting and destroying God's people, etc., is misunderstood by some scholars as a contradiction of the views of Paul and Peter (Rom. 13:1-7,1 Peter 2:13-16); but it is clear from Revelation 13:10 that John's views were fully in harmony with theirs. Rist stated the erroneous view thus:

For Paul, the empire and its rulers were inherently good ... under the direct control of God, not Satan ... However, for John, there is nothing good about either the empire or the emperors. The rulers are not ordained of God, but are the agents of Satan himself.[28]

Such a view is based upon an inadequate understanding of what all the apostles taught. For a discussion of "The Christian and the State" from the Pauline viewpoint, see my Commentary on Romans, pp. 447-449. There are two kinds of states; and, besides that, the same principles of submission are enjoined upon Christians with reference to both kinds, as plainly indicated in Revelation 13:10 where John implied the very fullest consonance with all that Paul and Peter wrote. Despite the satanic alliance between wicked states and Satan, such alliances exist clearly and only under the terms of God's permissive will. What else could be the meaning of the recurring expression "and there was given unto him" (Revelation 13:5), "and it was given to him" (Revelation 13:7), "it was given to him" (Revelation 13:14), "and it was given to him" (Revelation 13:15), etc.? No, John did not teach that Satan is truly in control. We now turn our attention to the text of the chapter.

[1] James Moffatt, Expositor's Greek New Testament, Vol. V (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1967), p. 429.

[2] George Eldon Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972), p. 179.

[3] James Moffatt, op. cit., p. 430.

[4] Albertus Pieters, Studies in the Revelation of St. John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1954), p. 214ff.

[5] Ibid., p. 218.

[6] William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1956), p. 179.

[7] William Barclay, The Revelation of John (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976), p. 89.

[8] A. Plummer, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 22, Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 334.

[9] J. W. Roberts, The Revelation of John (Austin, Texas: The R. B. Sweet Company, 1974), p. 112.

[10] Isbon T. Beckwith, The Apocalypse of John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1919), p. 410.

[11] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 183.

[12] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John's Revelation (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943), p. 389.

[13] R. H. Charles, Revelation of St. John, Vol. I, International Critical Commentary (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920), p. 349.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Carl August Auberlen, The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation of St. John, Viewed in their Mutual Relation (Andover: W. F. Draper, 1857), pp. 298,304.

[16] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 394.

[17] Albertus Pieters, op. cit., p. 220.

[18] Ibid.

[19] J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse Lectures on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1900), Vol. II, p. 452.

[20] Albertus Pieters, op. cit., p. 223.

[21] Ibid.

[22] John T. Hinds, A Commentary on the Book of Revelation (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1962), p. 191.

[23] Ray Summers, Worthy is the Lamb (Nashville: The Broadman Press, 1961), p. 171.

[24] J. W. Roberts, op. cit., p. 112.

[25] G. B. Caird, The Revelation of St. John the Divine (New York: Harper and Row, 1966), p. 171.

[26] James Moffatt, op. cit., p. 432.

[27] Robert H. Mounce, Commentary on the New Testament Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1977), p. 259.

[28] Martin Rist, The Interpreter's Bible, Vol. XII (New York-Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1957), p. 461.

And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns ten diadems, and upon his heads names of blasphemy. (Revelation 13:1)

A beast coming up out of the sea ... We reject the futurist interpretation that, "We are now in the time of the end."[29] In this vision the true meaning of the persecuting Roman power was revealed for the information and encouragement of the suffering saints of John's day, and not merely for their benefit, but for ours also, and for those of all times and places to come. This beast is always ready and waiting to be summoned as an ally of the devil whenever times and circumstances permit it.

The sea ... "Both the sea and the earth here (in this chapter) are expressions equivalent to the whole world."[30] Earle pointed out the diverse explanations of the beasts in this chapter thus:

Preterists say they are the Roman power (the empire), and the pagan priesthood supporting emperor worship, particularly in the province of Asia.

Historicists find here the Roman empire and the Roman Catholic church (the papacy).

Futurists identify the first beast as Antichrist, and the second as the false prophet.[31]SIZE>

Our own interpretation is not like any of these. See discussion under the chapter heading, above.

Having ten horns and seven heads ... These seven heads are the symbols of seven great world empires: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and another future from the time when John wrote. "The symbolism is analogous to that of Daniel 7, where we find the key to the interpretation. The seven heads are symbols of universal dominion, and the horns are the type of power."[32] The horns also represent the multiple kingdoms that succeed the fatal wounding of the sixth head. See under Revelation 17:12ff.

And upon his heads the names of blasphemy ... The universal dominions indicated here ascribed all honor and glory to themselves, as when Nebuchadnezzar required all people to worship a golden image of himself (Daniel 3:4,5), and as when Roman Caesars required their subjects to burn incense to Caesar's image, or address them as "Lord and God." "This beast is a symbol of idolized power."[33] The identity of this beast is extensive, occupying a major portion of all world history; but the phase of the beast's operation in view here concerned the persecuting power of the Roman empire. The blasphemous titles of the Roman emperor were exhibited everywhere, in the pagan temples, in the coinage, at the imperial court, everywhere. Despite the particular phase in view here, "This sea-born beast symbolizes the persecuting power of Satan embodied in all the nations and governments of the world throughout history."[34] "It is co-terminus with the whole earth."[35] "Like the other chaotic forces of evil, it is thrown up by the cosmic deep (Daniel 7:2)."[36]

[29] George Eldon Ladd, op. cit., p. 176.

[30] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 390.

[31] Ralph Earle, Beacon Bible Commentary, Vol. 10 (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1967), p. 578.

[32] A. Plummer, op. cit., p. 330.

[33] Frank L. Cox, Revelation in 26 Lessons (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1956), p. 85.

[34] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 176.

[35] Charles H. Roberson, Studies in Revelation (Tyler, Texas: P. D. Wilmeth, P.O. Box 3305,1957), p. 92.

[36] F. F. Bruce, A New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1969), p. 652.

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Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-13.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And I stood upon the sand of the sea,.... The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions read, "and he stood", &c. and so the Alexandrian copy; meaning the dragon, said to be wroth with the woman, and to go forth to make war with her seed, in the latter part of the preceding chapter, where some versions place this clause; and the Arabic version reads expressly, "and the serpent stood", &c. And this is thought by some to be the better reading, because of the connection with what goes before, and because there is no mention of the name of John, nor of his being called or removed from heaven, where he was beholding sights, and continuing the account of them, Revelation 4:1, as there is when he is shown sights elsewhere; see Revelation 17:3. And besides, as the dragon was contriving a new way of persecuting the saints, and about to raise up a beast out of the sea, by which he might do it, to whom he would give his power, seat, and authority, he is represented as standing in a proper place for this purpose; it was upon the sand, which may signify a multitude of people employed by him, and also may denote the weakness and failure of his efforts in the issue; yet the Greek copies in general agree in the common reading, and refer it to John, who stood on the shore of the isle of Patmos, and in a fit place, in a visionary way, to behold the following sight: for that the next clause belongs to him is without doubt,

and saw a beast rise up out of the sea: by which is meant, not the devil, because it is in Revelation 13:2, distinguished from the dragon, who is the devil and Satan, as also elsewhere, Revelation 16:13, nor the old Roman empire, though there are many things which seem to agree; the Roman monarchy is called a beast it is one of the four beasts in Daniel 7:2; which rose up out of the sea, from a multitude of people and nations, which were gathered to it and composed it. Rome Pagan had, as this beast has, seven heads and ten horns, Revelation 12:3; and had power over all nations, and is therefore sometimes called the whole world, and exercised great cruelty upon the Christians; but then this is signified by the red dragon itself, in the preceding chapter, and, besides, had risen up before the times of John, whereas this is one of the things shown him, which should be hereafter: this beast then was not, but was to come, Revelation 4:1; and was not to arise, nor did it arise till after the downfall of Rome Pagan, and after the Arian persecution, after the woman's flight into the wilderness, and after, and upon the inundation of the barbarous nations into the empire, as appears from the preceding chapter; nor will the time of this beast's duration agree with the old Roman empire, for this beast is to continue forty two months, Revelation 13:5; which is the whole time of the holy city being trodden under foot, and of the church's being in the wilderness, and of the witnesses prophesying in sackcloth; whereas the Roman monarchy, governed by emperors, did not last four hundred years. Moreover, as this beast is distinguished from the dragon, so it is said to have its power from him; whereas the Roman empire was of God, and obedience and subjection to it are always recommended to the saints in the Scriptures, Romans 13:1, much less can the empire, as become truly Christian, be intended; nor are either the eastern or the Turkish empires designed, for neither of these had their seat at Rome, which the dragon save to this beast, but at Constantinople: it remains then, that by it meant the Roman empire, when divided into ten kingdoms, and united in the Papacy; or it designs Christ in his secular power, with the ten kings, that receive power with him as such one hour, and give their kingdom to him: now this beast is said to "rise up out of the sea"; either out of the abyss, the bottomless pit of hell, see Revelation 11:7; or out of the sea of this world, and the wicked in it, who are like a troubled sea that cannot rest; or out of the floods of errors and heresies, by which this man of sin was conceived and cherished, and a way was paved for his open rising and appearance in the world; or rather, since waters design, in this book, nations, people, and tongues, see Revelation 17:15; and the four beasts in Daniel are said to rise out of the sea, Revelation 7:2; and a multitude of people are compared to the waves of the sea, Ezekiel 26:3; see also Isaiah 17:12, where the Jewish writers sayF2Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 41. 4. & 55. 2. & 63. 3. , the nations are compared to the sea, as Israel to the sand, the inundation of the barbarous nations, the Goths, Huns, and Vandals, into the empire, seem to be intended, which made great commotions and changes in it: these set up ten kingdoms in it, upon which antichrist arose, and placed himself at the head of them; these gave their kingdoms to the beast; and so may be said to give rise unto him, especially as to his secular power.

Having seven heads: which some understand the seat of knowledge, and seven a number of perfection; and so may refer to those boasted treasures of wisdom and knowledge which antichrist pretends to have, as being the judge of controversies, and the infallible interpreter of the Scriptures; or else the seven fold form of government among the Romans is intended, as in Revelation 12:3; or rather as it is interpreted in Revelation 17:9; the seven mountains on which Rome was built, and so design the city itself built on them, that being the metropolis of the empire; or the seven capital cities of the empire, as Mr. Daubuz thinks; the whole is meant, for it is the same Roman monarchy as before, only in a different form:

and ten horns; the ten kingdoms, into which the empire was divide it upon its being wasted and vanquished by the Goths, and the ten kings of them, which reigned with the beast, and gave their kingdoms to him; so horns signify kingdoms in Zechariah 1:18.

And upon his horns ten crowns; which distinguishes Rome Papal from Rome Pagan; the crowns in Rome Pagan were upon the heads, or the emperors, that resided at Rome; and though it had ten horns, as here, and was divided into so many provinces, which were governed by deputies, proconsuls, &c. yet they were not kings, they had no crowns; but here the horns have crowns on them because the governors of these ten kingdoms are crowned kings:

and upon his heads the name of blasphemy; which refers not to Rome Pagan being called the eternal city, and Rome the goddess, and the like; but to Rome Papal, or antichrist, who elsewhere is said to have the name "Mystery" written upon the forehead, and to have blasphemy on his heads; and is called blasphemy in the abstract, as being a most blasphemous creature against God, Christ, and his people, and so his name is suitable to his character, mouth, and language, Revelation 13:5; assuming that to himself which only belongs to God and Christ, as power over the conscience, to forgive sin, &c. and even deity itself; see 2 Thessalonians 1:4. The Alexandrian copy, and some others, the Complutensian edition, the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, read, "names of blasphemy".

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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-13.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

23 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and 1 saw a beast rise up 2 out of the sea, having seven heads and 3 ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, 4 and upon his heads 5 the name of blasphemy.

(23) That is, as a mighty tempest he poured out on the whole world (whose prince he is) to raise the floods and provoke the nations, that they might with their furious bellows toss up and down, driven here and there, and finally destroy the Church of Christ with its holy members. But the providence of God resisted his attempt, that he might save the Church of the Gentiles, yet tender and green. The rest of this story of the dragon is excellently presented by the apostle John later in (Revelation 20:1-15). For here the dragon endeavouring to do wickedness, was by God cast into prison. {(1)} The apostle having declared the forming of the Christian Church, and the state of the Church from which ours takes her beginning, now goes to the story of the progress of it, as is shown in the beginning of the former chapter. This history of the progress of the Church and the battles of it, is recorded in this chapter, but distinctly in two parts, one is of the civil Roman Empire, (Revelation 13:1-10). Another of the ecclesiastic or prophetic body, there to the end of the chapter. In the first part these things are shown: First the state of the Empire, in (Revelation 13:1-4) then the acts of it in (Revelation 13:5-7) after the effect: which is exceedingly great glory (Revelation 13:8). Last of all is commended the use: and the instruction of the godly against the evils that shall come from the same in (Revelation 13:9-10). The history of the state, contains a most ample description of the beast, first entire in (Revelation 13:1-2) and then restored after harm, (Revelation 13:3-4). {(2)} On the sand where the devil stood practising new tempests against the Church, in the verse next before going: at which time the Empire of Rome was endangered by domestic dissensions and was mightily tossed, having ever and again new heads, and new emperors. See (Revelation 17:8) {(3)} Having the same instruments of power, providence, and most expert government which the dragon is said to have had, in (Revelation 12:3). {(4)} We read in (Revelation 12:3) that the dragon had seven crowns set upon seven heads because the thief claims to be proper lord and prince of the world, but this beast is said to have ten crowns, set on several, not heads but horns: because the beast is obligated to the dragon for all; (Revelation 13:2) and does not otherwise reign, then by law of subjection given by him, namely that he employ his horns against the Church of God. The speech is taken from the ancient custom and form of dealing in such ease: by which they that were absolute kings did wear the diadem on their heads: but their vassals and such as reigned by grace from them, wore the same on their hoods: for so they might commodiously lay down their diadems when they came into the presence of their sovereigns, as also the elders are said, when they adored God which sat upon the throne, to have cast down their crowns before him in (Revelation 4:10)

(5) Contrary to that which God of old commanded should be written in the head piece of the high Priest, that is, "Sanctitas Jehova", Holiness unto the Lord. The name of blasphemy imposed by the dragon, is that which Paul says in (2 Thessalonians 2:4) "He sits as God and boasts himself to be God" For this name of blasphemy both the Roman Emperors did then challenge to themselves, as Suetonius and Dion do report of Caigula and Domitian: and after them the popes of Rome professed the same of themselves, when they challenged to themselves sovereignty in holy things of which kind of sayings the sixth book of the Decretals, the Clementines, and the Extravagants, are very full. For these men were not content with that which Anglicus wrote in his Poetria, (the beginning of which is "Papa stupor mundi" The pope is the wonder of the world) "Nec Deus es, nec homo, sed neuter es inter utrungue." Thou art not God, nor art thou man, but neuter mixed of both: as the gloss witnesses on the sixth book: But they were bold to take to themselves the very name of God, and to accept it given of other: according as almost a hundred and twenty years since there was made for Sixtus the fourth, when he should first enter into Rome in his papal dignity, a Pageant of triumph, and cunningly fixed upon the gate of the city he should enter at, having written upon it this blasphemous verse: "Oraclo vocis mundi moderaris habenas, Et merito in terrs crederis esse Deus." That is, By oracle of thine own voice, the world thou governest all, And worthily a God on earth men think and do thee call. These and six hundred the like who can impute to that modesty by which good men of old would have themselves called the servants of the servants of God? Verily either this is a name of blasphemy, or there is none at all.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-13.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Revelation 13:1-18. Vision of the beast that came out of the sea: The second beast, out of the earth, exercising the power of the first beast, and causing the earth to worship him.

I stood — So B, Aleph, and Coptic read. But A, C, Vulgate, and Syriac,He stood.” Standing on the sand of the sea, HE gave his power to the beast that rose out of the sea.

upon the sand of the sea — where the four winds were to be seen striving upon the great sea (Daniel 7:2).

beastGreek, “wild beast.” Man becomes “brutish” when he severs himself from God, the archetype and true ideal, in whose image he was first made, which ideal is realized by the man Christ Jesus. Hence, the world powers seeking their own glory, and not God‘s, are represented as beasts; and Nebuchadnezzar, when in self-deification he forgot that “the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men,” was driven among the beasts. In Daniel 7:4-7 there are four beasts: here the one beast expresses the sum-total of the God-opposed world power viewed in its universal development, not restricted to one manifestation alone, as Rome. This first beast expresses the world power attacking the Church more from without; the second, which is a revival of, and minister to, the first, is the world power as the false prophet corrupting and destroying the Church from within.

out of the sea — (Daniel 7:3; compare Note, see on Revelation 8:8); out of the troubled waves of peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. The earth (Revelation 13:11), on the other hand, means the consolidated, ordered world of nations, with its culture and learning.

seven heads and ten horns — A, B, and C transpose, “ten horns and seven heads.” The ten horns are now put first (contrast the order, Revelation 12:3) because they are crowned. They shall not be so till the last stage of the fourth kingdom (the Roman), which shall continue until the fifth kingdom, Christ‘s, shall supplant it and destroy it utterly; this last stage is marked by the ten toes of the two feet of the image in Daniel 2:33, Daniel 2:41, Daniel 2:42. The seven implies the world power setting up itself as God, and caricaturing the seven Spirits of God; yet its true character as God-opposed is detected by the number ten accompanying the seven. Dragon and beast both wear crowns, but the former on the heads, the latter on the horns (Revelation 12:3; Revelation 13:1). Therefore, both heads and horns refer to kingdoms; compare Revelation 17:7, Revelation 17:10, Revelation 17:12, “kings” representing the kingdoms whose heads they are. The seven kings, as peculiarly powerful - the great powers of the world - are distinguished from the ten, represented by the horns (simply called “kings,” Revelation 17:12). In Daniel, the ten mean the last phase of the world power, the fourth kingdom divided into ten parts. They are connected with the seventh head (Revelation 17:12), and are as yet future [Auberlen]. The mistake of those who interpret the beast to be Rome exclusively, and the ten horns to mean kingdoms which have taken the place of Rome in Europe already, is, the fourth kingdom in the image has TWO legs, representing the eastern as well as the western empire; the ten toes are not upon the one foot (the west), as these interpretations require, but on the two (east and west) together, so that any theory which makes the ten kingdoms belong to the west alone must err. If the ten kingdoms meant were those which sprung up on the overthrow of Rome, the ten would be accurately known, whereas twenty-eight different lists are given by so many interpreters, making in all sixty-five kingdoms! [Tyso in De Burgh]. The seven heads are the seven world monarchies, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, the Germanic empire, under the last of which we live [Auberlen], and which devolved for a time on Napoleon, after Francis, emperor of Germany and king of Rome, had resigned the title in 1806. Faber explains the healing of the deadly wound to be the revival of the Napoleonic dynasty after its overthrow at Waterloo. That secular dynasty, in alliance with the ecclesiastical power, the Papacy (Revelation 13:11, etc.), being “the eighth head,” and yet “of the seven” (Revelation 17:11), will temporarily triumph over the saints, until destroyed in Armageddon (Revelation 19:17-21). A Napoleon, in this view, will be the Antichrist, restoring the Jews to Palestine, and accepted as their Messiah at first, and afterwards fearfully oppressing them. Antichrist, the summing up and concentration of all the world evil that preceded, is the eighth, but yet one of the seven (Revelation 17:11).

crownsGreek, “diadems.”

name of blasphemy — So C, Coptic, and Andreas. A, B, and Vulgate read, “names of blasphemy,” namely, a name on each of the heads; blasphemously arrogating attributes belonging to God alone (compare Note, see on Revelation 17:3). A characteristic of the little horn in Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:20, Daniel 7:21; 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-13.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

He stood (εστατηestathē). First aorist passive indicative of ιστημιhistēmi (intransitive), as in Revelation 8:3. “He stopped” on his way to war with the rest of the woman‘s seed. P Q read here εστατηνestathēn (I stood) when it has to be connected with chapter Rev 13.

Upon the sand (επι την αμμονepi tēn ammon). The accusative case as in Revelation 7:1; Revelation 8:3, etc. ΑμμοςAmmos is an old word for sand, for innumerable multitude in Revelation 20:8.

Out of the sea (εκ της ταλασσηςek tēs thalassēs). See Revelation 11:7 for “the beast coming up out of the abyss.” The imagery comes from Daniel 7:3. See also Revelation 17:8. This “wild beast from the sea,” as in Daniel 7:17, Daniel 7:23, is a vast empire used in the interest of brute force. This beast, like the dragon (Revelation 12:3), has ten horns and seven heads, but the horns are crowned, not the heads. The Roman Empire seems to be meant here (Revelation 17:9, Revelation 17:12). On “diadems” (διαδηματαdiadēmata) see Revelation 12:3, only ten here, not seven as there.

Names of blasphemy (ονοματα βλασπημιαςonomata blasphēmias). See Revelation 17:3 for this same phrase. The meaning is made plain by the blasphemous titles assumed by the Roman emperors in the first and second centuries, as shown by the inscriptions in Ephesus, which have τεοςtheos constantly applied to them.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-13.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Beast ( θηρίον )

Properly rendered. See remarks on ζῶα living creatures, Revelation 4:6.

Rise up ( ἀναβαῖνον )

Rev., better, coming up, thus giving the force of the participle.

Ten horns

Compare Daniel 7:7.

Crowns ( διαδήματα )

Compare Revelation 12:3. See on Revelation 2:10.

The name ( ὄνομα )

Read ὀνόματα namesOn each head a name.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-13.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

And I stood on the sand of the sea — This also was in the vision.

And I saw — Soon after the woman flew away.

A wild beast coming up — He comes up twice; first from the sea, then from the abyss. He comes from the sea before the seven phials; "the great whore" comes after them. O reader, this is a subject wherein we also are deeply concerned, and which must he treated, not as a point of curiosity, but as a solemn warning from God! The danger is near. Be armed both against force and fraud, even with the whole armour of God.

Out of the sea — That is, Europe. So the three woes (the first being in Persia, the second about the Euphrates) move in a line from east to west. This beast is the Romish Papacy, as it came to a point six hundred years since, stands now, and will for some time longer. To this, and no other power on earth, agrees the whole text, and every part of it in every point; as we may see, with the utmost evidence, from the propositions following: - PROP1. It is one and the same beast, having seven heads, and ten horns, which is described in this and in the seventeenth chapter. Of consequence, his heads are the same, and his horns also. PROP2. This beast is a spiritually secular power, opposite to the kingdom of Christ. A power not merely spiritual or ecclesiastical, nor merely secular or political but a mixture of both. He is a secular prince; for a crown, yea, and a kingdom are ascribed to him. And yet he is not merely secular; for he is also a false prophet. PROP3. The beast has a strict connexion with the city of Rome. This clearly appears from the seventeenth chapter. PROP4. The beast is now existing. He is not past. for Rome is now existing; and it is not till after the destruction of Rome that the beast is thrown into the lake. He is not altogether to come: for the second woe is long since past, after which the third came quickly; and presently after it began, the beast rose out of the sea. Therefore, whatever he is, he is now existing. PROP5. The beast is the Romish Papacy. This manifestly follows from the third and fourth propositions; the beast has a strict connexion with the city of Rome; and the beast is now existing: therefore, either there is some other power more strictly connected with that city, or the Pope is the beast. PROP6. The Papacy, or papal kingdom, began long ago. The most remarkable particulars relating to this are here subjoined; taken so high as abundantly to show the rise of the beast, and brought down as low as our own time, in order to throw a light on the following part of the prophecy: - A.D1033. Benedict the Ninth, a child of eleven years old, is bishop of Rome, and occasions grievous disorders for above twenty years. A.D1048. Damasus II. introduces the use of the triple crown. A.D1058. The church of Milan is, after long opposition, subjected to the Roman. A.D1073. Hildebrand, or Gregory VII., comes to the throne. A.D1076. He deposes and excommunicates the emperor. A.D1077. He uses him shamefully and absolves him. A.D1080. He excommunicates him again, and sends a crown to Rodulph, his competitor. A.D1083. Rome is taken. Gregory flees. Clement is made Pope, and crowns the emperor. A.D1085. Gregory VII. dies at Salerno. A.D1095. Urban II. holds the first Popish council, at Clermont and gives rise to the crusades. A.D1111. Paschal II. quarrels furiously with the emperor. A.D1123. The first western general council in the Lateran. The marriage of priests is forbidden. A.D1132. Innocent II declares the emperor to be the Pope's liege-man, or vassal. A.D1143. The Romans set up a governor of their own, independent on Innocent II. He excommunicates them, and dies. Celestine II. is, by an important innovation, chosen to the Popedom without the suffrage of the people; the right of choosing the Pope is taken from the people, and afterward from the clergy, and lodged in the Cardinals alone. A.D1152. Eugene II. assumes the power of canonizing saints. A.D1155. Adrian IV. puts Arnold of Brixia to death for speaking against the secular power of the Papacy. A.D1159. Victor IV. is elected and crowned. But Alexander III. conquers him and his successor. A.D1168. Alexander III. excommunicates the emperor, and brings him so low, that, A.D1177. he submits to the Pope's setting his foot on his neck. A.D1204. Innocent III. sets up the Inquisition against the Vaudois. A.D1208. He proclaims a crusade against them. A.D1300. Boniface VIII. introduces the year of jubilee. A.D1305. The Pope's residence is removed to Avignon. A.D1377. It is removed back to Rome. A.D1378. The fifty years' schism begins. A.D1449. Felix V., the last Antipope, submits to Nicholas V. A.D1517. The Reformation begins. A.D1527. Rome is taken and plundered. A.D1557. Charles V. resigns the empire; Ferdinand I. thinks the being crowned by the Pope superfluous. A.D1564. Pius IV. confirms the Council of Trent. A.D1682. Doctrines highly derogatory to the Papal authority are openly taught in France. A.D1713. The constitution Unigenitus. A.D1721. Pope Gregory VII. canonized anew. He who compares this short table with what will be observed, verse3, Revelation 13:3 and Revelation 17:10, will see that the ascent of the beast out of the sea must needs be fixed toward the beginning of it; and not higher than Gregory VII., nor lower than Alexander III. The secular princes now favoured the kingdom of Christ; but the bishops of Rome vehemently opposed it. These at first were plain ministers or pastors of the Christian congregation at Rome, but by degrees they rose to an eminence of honour and power over all their brethren till, about the time of Gregory VII. (and so ever since) they assumed all the ensigns of royal majesty; yea, of a majesty and power far superior to that of all other potentates on earth. We are not here considering their false doctrines, but their unbounded power. When we think of those, we are to look at the false prophet, who is also termed a wild beast at his ascent out of the earth. But the first beast then properly arose, when, after several preludes thereto, the Pope raised himself above the emperor. PROP7. Hildebrand, or Gregory VII., is the proper founder of the papal kingdom. All the patrons of the Papacy allow that he made many considerable additions to it; and this very thing constituted the beast, by completing the spiritual kingdom: the new maxims and the new actions of Gregory all proclaim this. Some of his maxims are, 1. That the bishop of Rome alone is universal bishop2. That he alone can depose bishops, or receive them again3. That he alone has power to make new laws in the church4. That he alone ought to use the ensigns of royalty5. That all princes ought to kiss his foot6. That the name of Pope is the only name under heaven; and that his name alone should be recited in the churches7. That he has a power to depose emperors8. That no general synod can be convened but by him9. That no book is canonical without his authority10. That none upon earth can repeal his sentence, but he alone can repeal any sentence11. That he is subject to no human judgment12. That no power dare to pass sentence on one who appeals to the Pope13. That all weighty causes everywhere ought to be referred to him14. That the Roman church never did, nor ever can, err15. That the Roman bishop, canonically ordained, is immediately made holy, by the merits of St. Peter16. That he can absolve subjects from their allegiance. These the most eminent Romish writers own to be his genuine sayings. And his actions agree with his words. Hitherto the Popes had been subject to the emperors, though often unwillingly; but now the Pope began himself, under a spiritual pretext, to act the emperor of the whole Christian world: the immediate dispute was, about the investiture of bishops, the right of which each claimed to himself. And now was the time for the Pope either to give up, or establish his empire forever: to decide which, Gregory excommunicated the emperor Henry IV.; "having first," says Platina, "deprived him of all his dignities." The sentence ran in these terms: "Blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, incline, I beseech thee, thine ears, and hear me thy servant. In the name of the omnipotent God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I cast down the emperor Henry from all imperial and regal authority, and absolve all Christians, that were his subjects, from the oath whereby they used to swear allegiance to true kings. And moreover, because he had despised mine, yea, thy admonitions, I bind him with the bond of an anathema." The same sentence he repeated at Rome in these terms: "Blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, and thou Paul, teacher of the gentiles, incline, I beseech you, your ears to me, and graciously hear me. Henry, whom they call emperor, hath proudly lifted up his horns and his head against the church of God,-who came to me, humbly imploring to be absolved from his excommunication,-I restored him to communion, but not to his kingdom,-neither did I allow his subjects to return to their allegiance. Several bishops and princes of Germany, taking this opportunity, in the room of Henry, justly deposed, chose Rodulph emperor, who immediately sent ambassadors to me, informing me that he would rather obey me than accept of a kingdom, and that he should always remain at the disposal of God and us. Henry then began to be angry, and at first intreated us to hinder Rodulph from seizing his kingdom. I said I would see to whom the right belonged, and give sentence which should be preferred. Henry forbad this. Therefore I bind Henry and all his favourers with the bond of an anathema, and again take from him all regal power. I absolve all Christians from their oath of allegiance, forbid them to obey Henry in anything, and command them to receive Rodulph as their king. Confirm this, therefore, by your authority, ye most holy princes of the apostles, that all may now at length know, as ye have power to bind and loose in heaven, so we have power to give and take away on earth, empires, kingdoms, principalities, and whatsoever men can have." When Henry submitted, then Gregory began to reign without control. In the same year, 1077, on September1, he fixed a new era of time, called the Indiction, used at Rome to this day. Thus did the Pope claim to himself the whole authority over all Christian princes. Thus did he take away or confer kingdoms and empires, as a king of kings. Neither did his successors fail to tread in his steps. It is well known, the following Popes have not been wanting to exercise the same power, both over kings and emperors. And this the later Popes have been so far from disclaiming, that three of them have sainted this very Gregory, namely, Clement VIII., Paul V., and Benedict XIII. Here is then the beast, that is, the king: in fact such, though not in name: according to that remarkable observation of Cardinal Bellarmine, "Antichrist will govern the Roman empire, yet without the name of Roman emperor." His spiritual title prevented his taking the name, while he exerciseth all the power. Now Gregory was at the head of this novelty. So Aventine himself, "Gregory VII was the first founder of the pontifical empire." Thus the time of the ascent of the beast is clear. The apostasy and mystery of iniquity gradually increased till he arose, "who opposeth and exalteth himself above all." 2 Thessalonians 2:4. Before the seventh trumpet the adversary wrought more secretly; but soon after the beginning of this, the beast openly opposes his kingdom to the kingdom of Christ. PROP8. The empire of Hildebrand properly began in the year1077. Then it was, that upon the emperor's leaving Italy, Gregory exercised his power to the full. And on the first of September, in this year, he began his famous epocha. This may be farther established and explained by the following observations: - OBS1. The beast is the Romish Papacy, which has now reigned for some ages. OBS2. The beast has seven heads and ten horns. OBS3. The seven heads are seven hills, and also seven kings. One of the heads could not have been, "as it were, mortally wounded," had it been only a hill. OBS4. The ascent of the beast out of the sea is different from his ascent out of the abyss; the Revelation often mentions both the sea and the abyss but never uses the terms promiscuously. OBS5. The heads of the beast do not begin before his rise out of the sea, but with it. OBS6. These heads, as kings, succeed each other. OBS7. The time which they take up in this succession is divided into three parts. "Five" of the kings signified thereby "are fallen: one is, the other is not yet come." OBS8. "One is:" namely, while the angel was speaking this. He places himself and St. John in the middlemost time, that he might the more commodiously point out the first time as past, the second as present, the third as future. OBS9. The continuance of the beast is divided in the same manner. The beast "was, is not, will ascend out of the abyss," Revelation 17:8,11. Between these two verses, that is interposed as parallel with them, "Five are fallen, one is, the other is not yet come." OBS10. Babylon is Rome. All things which the Revelation says of Babylon, agree to Rome, and Rome only. It commenced "Babylon," when it commenced "the great." When Babylon sunk in the east, it arose in the west; and it existed in the time of the apostles, whose judgment is said to be "avenged on her." OBS11. The beast reigns both before and after the reign of Babylon. First, the beast reigns, Revelation 13:1, etc.; then Babylon, Revelation 17:1, etc.; and then the beast again, Revelation 17:8, etc. OBS12. The heads are of the substance of the beast; the horns are not. The wound of one of the heads is called "the wound of the beast" itself, verse3; Revelation 13:3 but the horns, or kings, receive the kingdom "with the beast," Revelation 17:12. That word alone, "the horns and the beast," Revelation 17:16, sufficiently shows them to be something added to him. OBS13. The forty-two months of the beast fall within the first of the three periods. The beast rose out of the sea in the year1077. A little after, power was given him for forty-two months. This power is still in being. OBS14. The time when the beast "is not," and the reign of "Babylon," are together. The beast, when risen out of the sea, raged violently, till "his kingdom was darkened" by the fifth phial. But it was a kingdom still; and the beast having a kingdom, though darkened, was the beast still. But it was afterwards said, "the beast was," (was the beast, that is, reigned,) "and is not;" is not the beast; does not reign, having lost his kingdom. Why? because "the woman sits upon the beast," who "sits a queen," reigning over the kings of the earth: till the beast, rising out of the abyss, and taking with him the ten kings, suddenly destroys her. OBS15. The difference there is between Rome and the Pope, which has always subsisted, will then be most apparent. Rome, distinct from the Pope, bears three meanings; the city itself, the Roman church, and the people of Rome. In the last sense of the word, Rome with its dutchy, which contained part of Tuscany and Campania, revolted from the Greek emperor in726, and became a free state, governed by its senate. From this time the senate, and not the Pope, enjoyed the supreme civil power. But in796, Leo III., being chosen Pope, sent to Charles the Great, desiring him to come and subdue the senate and people of Rome, and constrain them to swear allegiance to him. Hence arose a sharp contention between the Pope and the Roman people, who seized and thrust him into a monastery. He escaped and fled to the emperor, who quickly sent him back in great state. In the year800 the emperor came to Rome, and shortly after, the Roman people, who had hitherto chosen their own bishops, and looked upon themselves and their senate as having the same rights with the ancient senate and people of Rome, chose Charles for their emperor, and subjected themselves to him, in the same manner as the ancient Romans did to their emperors. The Pope crowned him, and paid him homage on his knees, as was formerly done to the Roman emperors: and the emperor took an oath "to defend the holy Roman church in all its emoluments." He was also created consul, and styled himself thenceforward Augustus, Emperor of the Romans. Afterwards he gave the government of the city and dutchy of Rome to the Pope, yet still subject to himself. What the Roman church is, as distinct from the Pope, appears, 1. When a council is held before the Pope's confirmation; 2. When upon a competition, judgment is given which is the true Pope; 3. When the See is vacant; 4. When the Pope himself is suspected by the Inquisition How Rome, as it is a city, differs from the Pope, there is no need to show. OBS16. In the first and second period of his duration, the beast is a body of men; in the third, an individual. The beast with seven heads is the Papacy of many ages: the seventh head is the man of sin, antichrist. He is a body of men from Revelation 13:1; he is a body of men and an individual, Revelation 17:8; he is an individual, Revelation 17:12. OBS17. That individual is the seventh head of the beast, or, the other king after the five and one, himself being the eighth, though one of the seven. As he is a Pope, he is one of the seven heads. But he is the eighth, or not a head, but the beast himself, not, as he is a Pope, but as he bears a new and singular character at his coming from the abyss. To illustrate this by a comparison: suppose a tree of seven branches, one of which is much larger than the rest; if those six are cut away, and the seventh remain, that is the tree. OBS18. "He is the wicked one, the man of sin, the son of perdition" usually termed antichrist. OBS19. The ten horns, or kings, "receive power as kings with the wild beast one hour," Revelation 17:12; with the individual beast, "who was not." But he receives his power again, and the kings with it, who quickly give their new power to him. OBS20. The whole power of the Roman monarchy, divided into ten kingdoms, will be conferred on the beast, Revelation 17:13,16,17. OBS21. The ten horns and the beast will destroy the whore, Revelation 17:16. OBS22. At length the beast, the ten horns, and the other kings of the earth, will fall in that great slaughter, Revelation 19:19. OBS23. Daniel's fourth beast is the Roman monarchy, from the beginning of it, till the thrones are set. This, therefore, comprises both the apocalyptic beast, and the woman, and many other things. This monarchy is like a river which runs from its fountain in one channel, but in its course sometimes takes in other rivers, sometimes is itself parted into several streams, yet is still one continued river. The Roman power was at first undivided; but it was afterwards divided into various channels, till the grand division into the eastern and western empires, which likewise underwent various changes. Afterward the kings of the Heruli. Goths, Lombards, the exarchs of Ravenna, the Romans themselves the emperors, French and German, besides other kings, seized several parts of the Roman power. Now whatever power the Romans had before Gregory VII., that Daniel's beast contains; whatever power the Papacy has had from Gregory VII., this the apocalyptic beast represents, but this very beast (and so Rome with its last authority) is comprehended under that of Daniel.

And upon his heads a name of blasphemy — To ascribe to a man what belongs to God alone is blasphemy. Such a name the beast has, not on his horns, nor on one head, but on all. The beast himself bears that name, and indeed through his whole duration. This is the name of Papa or Pope; not in the innocent sense wherein it was formerly given to all bishops, but in that high and peculiar sense wherein it is now given to the bishop of Rome by himself, and his followers: a name which comprises the whole pre-eminence of the highest and most holy father upon earth. Accordingly among the above cited sayings of Gregory, those two stand together, that his "name alone should be recited in the churches;" and that it is "the only name in the world." So both the church and the world were to name no other father on the face of the earth.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-13.html. 1765.

Scofield's Reference Notes

rise up

Daniel's fourth beast, (See Scofield "Daniel 7:26"), The "ten horns" are explained in Daniel 7:24; Revelation 17:12 to be ten kings, and the whole vision is of the last form of Gentile world-power, a confederated ten-kingdom empire covering the sphere of authority of ancient Rome. Revelation 13:1-3 refers to the ten-kingdom empire; vs. Revelation 13:4-10 to the emperor, who is emphatically "the Beast."

(See Scofield "Revelation 19:20").

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 13:1". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-13.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.

Ver. 1. And I stood] Where I might best see the beast that came out of the sea.

I saw a beast] The Church, flying into the wilderness from the dragon, falls upon this beast, which is nothing better than the dragon under a better shape. Sic aliud ex alio malum. This beast is that Antichrist of Rome.

Rise up] Not all at once, but by degrees.

Out of the sea] Out of the bottomless pit, Revelation 11:7; 2 Thessalonians 2:9.

Having seven heads] To plot.

And ten horns] To push. Craft and cruelty go always together in the Church’s enemies. The asp never wanders alone; and those birds of prey go not without their mates, Isaiah 34:16.

And upon his horns] The kings that are the pope’s vassals. See Revelation 17:11. These are the props of his power.

The name of blasphemy] This is his true name; his pretensed name is mystery.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-13.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 13:1.— In this chapter we have a further account of the state of the church and world, in the third period. The representation of the wild beasts, in this vision, refers to the same times with the two former visions, of the witnesses prophesying in sackcloth, and the woman flying into the wilderness. Power is given unto the beast to continue, or to make war, and prevail forty and two months. This vision gives a more distinct account of the manner and means by which the true church and worshippers of God should be persecuted, and so greatly oppressed, as is represented by the woman's flying into the wilderness, and the slaying of the witnesses: so that this representation, in conjunction with the two former, will afford us a sufficient description of the state of providence and the church, with the useful lessons of caution, patience, and faithfulness, in times of great corruption and danger: which seem to be the principal intentions of the Spirit of prophesy, in the whole of these revelations. See the following note.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-13.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, 1. The place where St. John had the vision related in this chapter; he apprehends himself to stand on the sea-shore, a place fit for the sight he was to see, namely, a beast rising out of the sea.

Where note, That it is usual in the prophets, Daniel especially, to set out temporal monarchies oppressing the church, by great beasts.

Where we learn, what a base and vile, what a low and mean, esteem God has of the mightiest enemies of his church and people; let the world admire them as gods, if they abuse their power God calls them beasts; and as such, in his own time, they shall be destroyed; I saw a beast rise up out of the sea.

Observe, 2. The monstrous description of that beast which St. John saw, it had seven heads, denoting, some say, the seven hills upon which Rome stands; or the seven sorts of government successively in the Roman state, say others; and ten horns, that is, ten kings under Rome, and confederate with her.

Where note, That all such kings, be they ever so mighty or many, which persecute sincere Christianity, are vile in the esteem of God, accounted no better than the horns of a bloody beast, which Almighty God will either blunt or break. And upon the horns ten crowns, which crowns they hold of God, who is the King of kings. Sovereignty is from heaven, however men come by it, or however they abuse it, which shows the horrid ingratitude of those princes, who having received their power from God, do improve it against him, and turn it upon him by whom they reign. And upon his heads the name of blasphemy; those that apply this description of the beast to Rome Pagan, understand hereby their paganish idol-worship in general; and their deifying of the Roman emperors in particular.

Others, as most Protestants, who apply it to Rome Papal, by this name of blasphemy, understand those blasphemous titles which are given to the Pope, as "Lord God, the universal Head, the Husband of the church, the Light which came into the world," &c. which are the incommunicable attributes of Christ; and by flatterers and admirers frequently given to the Papal Antichrist, upon whose head is the name of blasphemy.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-13.html. 1700-1703.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

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 πολε΄ῆσαι (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 πολε΄ῆσαι, 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 ἄ΄΄ον τῆς θαλ., because the beast is to come ἐκ τῆς θαλάσσης (Revelation 13:1).

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.

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. ἄ΄΄ον 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, 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.

θηρίον

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.]

NOTES BY THE AMERICAN EDITOR

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.

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Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/revelation-13.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 13:1. That the Church of Rome was founded by the Lord alone. 2. That the Roman Pontiff is alone rightly called universal. 3. That he alone is able to depose or restore bishops. 4. That his legate takes precedence of all bishops in a council, even if he be of inferior rank, and is able to pass sentence of deposition upon them. 5. That the Pope is able to depose persons in their absence. 6. That, among other things, we ought not even to remain in the same house with those who have been excommunicated by him. 7. That it is lawful for him alone, according to the necessity of the time, to make new laws, to collect new congregations of people, of a canonry to make an abbacy, and, on the other hand, to divide a rich bishoprick, and to unite poor ones. 8. That he alone can use the imperial insignia. 9. That all princes are to kiss the feet of the Pope alone. 10. That the name of him alone is to be read in the churches. 11. That his name is the only name in the world. 12. That it is lawful for him to depose emperors. 13. That it is lawful for him, when compelled by necessity, to transfer bishops from one see to another. 14. That he is able to ordain a clerk of the whole Church to whatever place he shall wish. 15. That he who is ordained by him is able to preside over another church, but not to serve;(138) and that he ought not to receive a higher degree from any bishop. 16. That no Synod can be called general without his order. 17. That no section, and no book, can be esteemed canonical without his authority. 18. That his sentence ought to be repealed by no one, and he alone has the power of repealing the sentences of all. 19. That he himself ought to be judged by no one. 20. That no one may dare to condemn one who appeals to the Apostolic See. 21. That the greater causes belonging to every church ought to be referred to him. 22. That the Church of Rome has never erred, nor will it ever err, according to the testimony of Scripture. 23. That the Roman Pontiff, if he shall have been canonically ordained, is undoubtedly rendered holy by the merits of the blessed Peter, as St Ennodius testifies, the Bishop of Pavia, many holy fathers assenting to him, as it is contained in the decrees of the blessed Pope Symmachus. 24. That by his precept and license it is lawful for subjects to accuse. 25. That without a Synodal assembly he is able to depose and restore bishops. 26. That he is not to be esteemed a Catholic, who does not agree with the Church of Rome. 27. That he has the power of absolving the subjects of wicked princes from their allegiance.

The genuineness of these dicta has been acknowledged by Panvinius, P. de Marca, and Lupus; to whom is added Mabillon de re Diplom. f. 63. That they certainly give an accurate representation of the mind of Hildebrand, is demonstrated by Pfaffius Inst. H. E. p. 510; yea, Baronius calls them the Prerogatives [“privilegia”] of the Apostolic See and of the Roman Pontiff: nor are the other demands of the Romish Church of a different character, a great collection of which is set forth in the public book, written in German, de recus. Concil. Trid. pp. 134–159, of Nicolaus, concerning the Kingdom of Christ, ch. 7; Calixti Digress, pp. 446–456; Carpzov. Isag. in libb. symb. pp. 813, 814, and others. As was his word, so his deed. The Acts, which are everywhere extant, agree with his dictates. The sum of the whole is this: Up to this time the pontiffs had been subject to the emperor, although they often champed the bit; but then the Pope subdued the emperor, and, under the pretext of spiritual authority, began in his own person to act as monarch of the whole Christian world. That was the crowning point, to subdue the majesty of the Cæsars, which was the chief obstacle to his power. The alleged cause had reference to investitures, and this itself was part only of a business which was of greater moment than was supposed; but the whole was of by far the greatest moment. For Panvinius shows, that the cause then at issue especially tended either to the entire overthrow of the imperial power, or to its establishment for ever. Let the Life of Gregory VII., by J. C. Dithmar, and the History of the Controversy respecting the Investiture of Bishops, until the agreement between Henry V. and Calixtus II., be looked into, especially at the end. In the year 1076, in a Synod at Rome, in the presence of 110 bishops, Gregory VII. anathematized Henry IV.; having FIRST (as Platina says) altogether deprived him of the administration of his kingdom. But the form of a pontifical abrogation [absolving of subjects from their allegiance] was to this purport—(The speaker is the same; for Sigonius expressed it in purer Latin): “O blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, incline, I pray thee, thine ears, and listen to me thy servant, whom thou hast both brought up from infancy, and hast preserved unto this day from the hands of the wicked, who hate and have persecuted me for my faith in thee. Thou art the best witness to me, and the pious mother of JESUS CHRIST, and thy brother Paul, the sharer of martyrdom with thee, that it is not of my own accord, but against my will, that I have undertaken the helm of the pontificate. Not that I thought it a robbery to ascend thy seat in a lawful manner, but I preferred to pass my life as a pilgrim, rather than to occupy thy place only for the sake of fame and glory. I confess, and deservedly so indeed, that the care of Christ’s people has been committed to me, not through my own merits, but through thy favour; and that the power of binding and loosing has been granted to me. Therefore relying on this confidence, for the dignity and protection of His holy Church, in the name of Almighty God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I both depose from the exercise of his imperial and kingly office, King Henry, the son of Henry, formerly Emperor, who too boldly and rashly has laid hands upon thy Church; and I absolve all Christians who are subject to his authority from that oath, by which they have been accustomed to render allegiance to true kings. For it is befitting that he, who attempts to lessen the majesty of the Church, should be deprived of his dignity. Moreover, because he has despised my admonitions, yea! thine, having reference to the safety of himself and his people, and has separated himself from the Church of God, which he desires to injure by seditions, I bind him with the chain of an anathema; assuredly knowing that thou art Peter, on whose rock, as on a true foundation, our King CHRIST has built His Church.” “And the same curse,” says Platina, “he confirmed afresh in the year 1080, in these words: ‘O blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, and thou Paul, teacher of the nations, lend me your attention, I pray, for a short time, and mercifully hear me: for you are disciples and lovers of the truth: the things which I am about to say are true. I undertake this cause for the sake of the truth, that my brethren, whose salvation I earnestly desire, may more obediently acquiesce in my authority, and may know and understand that it is through reliance on your aid, next to that of Christ and his ever-Virgin mother, that I resist the abandoned and the wicked: and I am present with ready aid to the faithful. For I did not ascend this seat at my own will and desire; but against my will and in tears, because I judged myself unworthy of sitting on so lofty a throne. But I say these things, because I did not choose you, but ye chose me, and placed on my shoulders this most heavy weight. But when I was ascending the mount itself by your command, as I cried aloud, and proclaimed to the people their crimes, and to the sons of the Church their sins, these members of the devil conspired against me, and laid their hands upon me even to bloodshed. For the kings of the earth, and the princes of this world, stood up, and, together with them certain ecclesiastics and common persons, conspired against the Lord, and against His anointed ones (“Christos,” others read “Christianos”), saying: Let us break asunder their bonds, and east their yoke from us: but this they did, in order that they might punish me either with death or with exile: And among these was Henry, whom they call king,—Henry, I say, the son of Henry the Emperor, who, in the excess of his pride, has raised his horns and heel against the Church of GOD having made a confederacy with many Italian, French, and German bishops, whose pride your authority has as yet resisted, who, broken in spirit, rather than reduced to a sound mind, coming to me into the Cisalpine country, suppliantly besought me to release him from his anathema. This man, when I had believed that he had come to repentance, I received into favour, and restored him only to communion, without reinstating him in his kingdom, from which I had deservedly driven him in a Synod at Rome; nor did I permit those who were tributary to his kingdom, to return to their allegiance.(139) This I did to the intent, that if he should delay to return to favour with his neighbours, whom he had always harassed, and should refuse to restore affairs, both ecclesiastical and ordinary, according to his compact, he might be driven to his duty by curses and arms. Aided by this opportunity, certain bishops and princes of Germany, who had long been harassed by this wild beast, chose Rodulph as their leader and king in the place of Henry, who had fallen from the kingdom by his crimes; and he, with modesty and uprightness worthy of a king, at once sent messengers to me, from whom I might understand that he was compelled to undertake the government of the kingdom, but that he was not so desirous of reigning, as not to prefer obedience to me, rather than to those who promised him the kingdom; that he would always be under the control of God and of us; and in order that we might be assured that he would thus act, he promised his sons as hostages. Then Henry began to be indignant, and at first to implore us to repel Rodulph by curses from occupying the kingdom. I said that I wished to see to whom the right belonged, and that I would send thither messengers, to inquire into the whole matter, and that I would then judge which of them was to be esteemed to have the better claim in the matter. Henry forbade the appointment of a king by our legates, and put to death many persons, both secular and ecclesiastics, plundered and profaned churches, and in this manner bound himself by the bonds of an anathema. On this account, relying on the judgment and mercy of God, and on the protection of the blessed Virgin, supported also by your authority, I bind Henry himself and his partisans with the bond of an anathema: and I again deprive him of his royal power; and I forbid all Christians, as being absolved from that oath, by which allegiance is wont to be paid towards sovereigns, to obey Henry in any thing; and I order them to receive Rodulph for their king, whom many princes of the province, having deposed Henry, chose as their most excellent king. For it is right that, as Henry is deprived of his privileges on account of pride and obstinacy, so Rodulph, who is acceptable to all on account of his piety and religion, should be presented with the royal dignity. Come, therefore, ye most holy princes of the apostles, and confirm what I say by the interposition of your authority, that all may now at length understand, that, if you have the power of loosing and binding in heaven, we also have power on earth to take away and to bestow empires, kingdoms, principalities, and whatever mortals have power to hold. For if you have power to judge things which relate to God, what must we think respecting these inferior and common matters? And if it is yours to judge angels, who bear rule over haughty princes, what is it befitting that you (others read we) should do towards their servants? Let kings and all princes of the world now learn by his example, what power you have in heaven, and how great you are with God; so may they henceforth fear to despise the commands of the holy Church. But quickly exercise this judgment upon Henry, that all may understand that the son of wickedness falls from his kingdom not accidentally, but through your instrumentality. I could however wish to obtain this from you, that, led by repentance, he may at your request obtain favour from the Lord at the day of judgment. Given at Rome on the 7th of March, at the third indiction.’ ” By the Divine interdict (which says) “Vengeance is mine,” the anger of man ought to be restrained even now, if any one reads or calls to mind the unheard-of insult offered to the young Emperor, and the haughtiness of the pastor, throughout the whole business: the former deserted by all; compelled openly to ask for pardon; in the severity of winter, creeping, rather than walking; waiting out of doors in foul clothing, until it suited the convenience of the latter, from the lofty citadel of Canusium, at least to look down upon the suppliant Emperor, in the year 1077. Then Henry left Italy: Gregory, having established himself at Rome, began to reign vigorously. In the same year he sent letters to the island of Corsica, which give no slight illustration of his ascent out of the sea. One of them runs thus, according to Nic. Colet:

“Gregory, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to all bishops, clergy, consuls, greater and less, who exist in the island of Corsica, greeting, and the apostolical benediction.

“Since, on account of the numerous engagements necessary for discharging the debt of our anxiety, we are not able in person to visit the churches of the several provinces, it is most necessary that, when circumstances or the time requires it, we should endeavour to send some one to that office, by whom the authority committed to us according to the will of God may be represented, and provision may be made for the safety and general advantage of the Lord’s flock. For we know that it cannot be without detriment and great peril of souls, when the diligence of him on whom the chief business and the necessity of care principally devolves, is for a long time wanting to the brethren placed under him and committed to him. Wherefore, weighing these things, and greatly fearing lest the intermission for so long a time of the exercise of such a foresight towards you should both be construed on our part into a charge of negligence, and (which Heaven forbid) should be injurious or opposed to your safety, as soon as the opportunity was presented to us, we have sent to you this our brother Landulph, bishop elect of the church of Pisa, to whom also we have entrusted our office among you, that, duly carrying out those things which relate to the order of our holy religion, according to the word of the prophet, he may pluck up and destroy, build and plant; and we wish you to obey him, and unanimously stand by him, admonishing you and enjoining you, with apostolic authority, that you show to him such honour and reverence as it is your duty, according to the appointment of the holy fathers, to show to those whom the holy and apostolic See, in its prescience, appoints, as fit to be admitted to a share of its anxiety, and to be entrusted with the representation of the Roman Pontiff.—Given at Sena, September 1st, at the commencement of the FIRST INDICTION.”

This letter derives additional weight from another, which follows.

“Gregory, the bishop, the servant of the servants of God, to all bishops and noble men, and to all who are established in the island of Corsica, both greater and less, greeting, and the apostolical benediction.

“Ye know, brethren and beloved sons in Christ, that it is manifest not only to you, but to many nations, that the island which ye inhabit, belongs, according to debt or strict propriety of justice, to no one of mortals, and to no power, but the holy Church of Rome; and that they who have held it up to this time with violence, exhibiting no service, no fidelity, no subjection at all or obedience to the blessed Peter, have involved themselves in the crime of sacrilege, and in great peril to their souls. But learning, through certain faithful friends of ours and yours, that you desire to return to the honour and just rights of the apostolic principality, as you know to be your duty, and that the just rights which have been long taken away by invaders should be restored to the blessed Peter, in your times and by your exertions, we greatly rejoiced, knowing that this will turn out not only to your present, but also to your future advantage and glory. Nor ought you to feel distrust, or to entertain any doubt in this cause, inasmuch as, if only your goodwill shall remain firm, and your faith unmoved towards the blessed Peter, we have, through the mercy of God, many TROOPS of counts and noblemen, in Tuscany, prepared, if it shall be necessary, for your assistance and defence. Wherefore, as seemed to us most befitting in this business, we have sent to you our brother Landulph, bishop of the church of Pisa, to whom also we have entrusted our office by deputy among you in spiritual matters, that he may receive the LAND on the part of the blessed Peter, and on our account, and may rule it with all zeal and diligence, and may interest himself in arranging concerning all matters and causes which belong to the blessed Peter, and through him to ourselves. And we wish you, in accordance with the love and reverence which you bear towards the same blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles, to obey him, and faithfully to assist him in all things, and we admonish you by the apostolic authority so to do—. And that he may be more free from anxiety, and ready for all things among you, we admonish you not to withhold fidelity towards him, if he shall demand it, when you have first observed fidelity to St Peter, and to us and our successors, and that you will not refuse this to him on any opportunity.—Given at Rome on the 16th of September, in the first Indiction.”

Add that the Emperor was afterwards deprived of the imperial insignia by his son, at the instigation of Paschal II.; that the clergy whom he had enriched, did not even supply him, when so deprived, with bread; and, at last, that burial was for a long time refused to him. No drudge was ever treated by a purveyor worse. This was something new and remarkable: so it was right that the time should be distinguished when the Emperor became inferior and the Pope superior. And it was not only the imperial Majesty, but the whole Majesty of all Christian princes, which Gregory claimed to reduce into subjection to Peter, that is, to himself, and did actually reduce in a great degree; so that he took away, conferred, and transferred kingdoms, titles, and fiefs, as though he were king of kings, more noble than the noble, ἀνυπεύθυνος, irresponsible. Whether Gregory repented on his deathbed or not, his successors nevertheless thought that that which he had gained was their booty (Comp., so far, Matthew 27:4): and, the foundation being once laid, they built upon it the superstructure of their own Monarchy. For the things are well known which the Popes afterwards both dared and actually executed against emperors and princes; and which were so far from being retracted by later Popes, that Gregory VII. was at length gradually enrolled among the gods by Clement VIII., by Paul V., and by Benedict XIII. A senseless thunderbolt of Sixtus V. (p. 75, etc.) recounts the kings who held their power on feudal tenure. Tanner openly says: “I say that the Pontiff is the head of the Roman empire itself, and of the universal Christian Church: I add and amplify the saying, that he is the head of the Roman Emperor, and of all princes of the empire, and of each of them.”—Anat. Demonstrat. 5, n. 131. We have the beast, that is, a king: whence also, about those times, for instance, A. 1103, some writings are said to have been given in the REIGN of the POPE, as Mabillon teaches, de Re diplom. p. 187. He was king, however, not in name, but in reality. Not in name: for antichrist himself shall possess the Roman empire, yet without the name of Roman Emperor, as Bellarmine excellently says, de Rom. Pont. c. 15: but in reality; for Blondus says, “The princes of the world now adore and reverence, as perpetual Dictator, not the successor of Cæsar, but of the fisherman Peter, and the vicar of the aforesaid Emperor, the Supreme Pontiff.” And Aug. Steuchus: “On the overthrow of the empire, had not God restored the pontifical power, it would have come to pass that Rome, raised and restored by none, uninhabitable, would afterwards have become a most foul dwelling-place of cattle and flocks. But in the pontificate, although there was not the greatness of the ancient empire, it revived again not much different in appearance, because all nations from the east and the west venerate the Roman Pontiff, just as they used in former times to obey the emperors.” In fact the spiritual title separates the name of king from the reality itself: for the Roman empire has been changed FROM THE TEMPORAL TO THE SPIRITUAL, as Thomas wrote on 2 Thessalonians 2; and that temporal empire has been changed to the power of the Roman See, as Dominic of Sos dictates from Leo, Bishop of Rome; yea, so that even as the episcopate is sometimes said to be secularized, so the Christian world bearing rule is, as it were, spiritualized and amortised [alienated and made over to the spiritual power]. But the head of this new system is Gregory. He FIRST, under the appearance of religion, laid the foundations of the rule of Antichrist; so that, according to Aventine, 170 years afterwards, at the Council of Ratisbon, Eberhard, Archbishop of Saltzburg, noticed this Epoch. Aventine himself says: Gregory VII. FIRST founded the pontifical empire. See Vitringa in Ap., who, p. 570, etc., has both confirmed the rise of this Hildebrand himself, having refuted others who interpreted the prophecy of Rome pagan, and Diocletian, and has collected many testimonies, which we have lately brought forward. But also M., Ant., on the subject of Lords, says respecting Hildebrand: He was the FIRST who wished in open war to exercise power over kings and emperors: l. iv. de rep. eccl. c. 3. And that a NEW and unheard-of precedent being established, it was effected, that the Pope not only excommunicated Cæsar, but even deprived him of his office, Lairizius proves on the weighty testimonies of Otto of Frisingia, of Godofrid of Viterbo, John Trithemius, and On. Panvinius, in his history of the Papacy, in German, p. 482, etc. To these may be added the Exx. of Ts. Casaubon c. Baron., throughout; the 2d book especially of John, Bishop of Rochester, on the power of the Pope in temporal matters, ch. 9 and 10; Hottinger’s Eccl. Hist. Cent. xi.; Blondell’s discussion on the formula, Christ being King, sect. ii. ch. 16: Edm. Richer’s Hist. conc. gen. T. I. ch. 13, p. 758; Natal Alexander’s Hist. Eccl. Cent. xi. and xii. Diss. ii. art. 9; Du Pin on the ancient discipline of the Church, diss. 7th; A. Rechenberg’s diss. on the totality of Hildebrand; the Observ. misc. of Deylingius, exerc. the 6th, respecting the novelty of monarchical rule over the universal Church; the Diss. of Maichelius on the right of the prince with respect to public teaching, pp. 57, 58, etc.

In his Calculation of the years of the world, T. iv. Jen. Lat., fol. 741, etc., Luther in a memorable manner remarked, under the 1000th year of redemption, The bishop of Rome becomes Antichrist, even by the power of the sword.

It was by no instantaneous metamorphosis that the Pope passed from the spiritual simplicity of the first bishops to a height beyond all majesty of the world; but he imperceptibly acquired authority and influence, until, by an effort altogether extraordinary, he reached the highest point. From this origin the new kingdom used its own state, its own form, its own style, much more than before: and whereas hitherto the Pope had been a shepherd, with a principality annexed to his office, now he has come forth as a monarch, with the episcopate annexed to his office, yet with the title of the episcopate. On which account, even at the present day, foreign kings, for instance the Chinese, in their letters, address the Pope as King. Let us go through the chief points of the facts. He gradually obtained his own senate, the cardinals, who rejoiced in raising themselves by equal steps with the Pope, who, having first excluded the people, and then also the whole of the clergy and the Emperor, elected the Pope, and that too out of their own body: his own soldiers, the clergy, who were withdrawn from the civil power, bound to the Pontiff by celibacy, and distinguished from the laity by the use of the cup at the Eucharist: most ample territory, especially by means of Matilda: his own vassals, Christian kings, as we have said: his own body of laws, the Canon Law, fenced in by the scholastic theology: his own assemblies, the Councils, called under his own auspices; for formerly all the œcumenical councils had been in the east, afterwards all were in the west: his own satellites, monks, especially of the Dominican and Franciscan orders, and recently the Jesuits: his own tribunal, that of the Inquisition: his own badge, that mystic tiara, which was made threefold, A. 1048, and which is called the Kingdom of the world. From Gregory VII. especially the pontiffs omitted the years of the emperors, and substituted their own; and this custom they afterwards retained, together with the Indiction, as Mabillon says, p. 181; and what is the meaning of this usage, is plain from 1 Maccabees 13:41-42 : and Paschal II., a few years afterwards, began to do that very thing more solemnly. From about that time, greater regard is paid by historians to the coronation of the Pope than to his consecration; for instance, by Panvinius, in his Chronicle of the Pontiffs, and by the Pope himself, in reckoning his own years. The same Gregory at that time claimed for himself alone the very name of Pope, and the title of Holiness, and the kissing of his feet, which had been common to bishops and abbots. Nor further back than the age of Hildebrand had Claudius Fleury anything to say respecting the morals of Christians, described in his French Treatise. But even at this time, first, a public protesting first waxed strong against this kingdom, made up of heaven and earth (with what purity, we do not ask), by means of Arnald of Brixia, whom on that account Baronius deems to have been the patriarch of political heretics. We must not omit to notice, that by Gregory VII. especially the majesty of the empire and the sanctity of marriage were at the same time violated: whence those two heresies were invented, that of Simoniacs and that of the Nicolaitans. And indeed the sanctity of marriage was impugned in the case of priests, not in the case of all men; but still it was on such grounds, as to depress the marriage state itself. Whoever the king is, whom Daniel points out, ch. 11, that sentiment, at any rate, which is found in Daniel 11:37, He shall not regard the desire of women, and any of the gods (for this is the reading of the Septuagint; but the Vulgate, not following this, removes the negative from the former clause): it is especially suited to that despiser of marriage, and of the majesty of the Cæsars, the Pontiff Gregory VII.

The Romanists upbraid the Protestants, because in fixing the beginning of antichrist they differ from one another by many centuries.(140) They might in truth have upbraided them with the difference of a thousand years and more: so wide an extent the subject has. In truth, all things, which are done, have both a time in which they are done, and a point of time in which they begin to be done; and the more accurate the knowledge of the time is, the more does it assist the knowledge of the fact. But again there may be a knowledge of the fact, even though you are far distant from the knowledge of the time: otherwise, many men would have to hesitate respecting themselves, whether they are in the world, because they do not know at what hour, on what day, in what mouth, in what year, and even more than this, they were born. However the time of the beast’s birth is sufficiently plain. For the apostasy and mystery of iniquity has increased in various ways from its earliest threads, and does still increase, until he comes forth ἀντικείμενος καὶ ὑπεραιρόμενος, who opposeth and exalteth himself: 2 Thessalonians 2:3, etc. The trumpet of the seventh angel in the Apocalypse divides the whole duration into two parts. Before that trumpet, either from other passages of the Apocalypse or from the Apostolic writings, the adversary is presupposed in mystery: under the trumpet of the seventh angel, at a short interval after its beginning, the beast is opposed to Christ in his open kingdom, which is a consideration of far greater weight. The times of the former steps, on this very account, because they are varied and concealed, are not precisely defined in the New Testament, wherefore it is of no consequence to notice them particularly in their accomplishment: but with regard to the kingdom and its flourishing state, which is treated of, Revelation 13, the times are at once precisely defined, and John, as Bellarmine, l. iii. de Rom. Pont. ch. 3, says, has even added minutiæ; and we show that these very minutiæ have reference to the times. It is plain from this, what answer ought truly to be given to Bellarmine, who, l. iii. de Rom. Pont. ch. 3, at the end, thus refutes the sentiment, which he attributes to W. Musculus, respecting the beginning of Antichrist at the time of Bernard: There were pontiffs incomparably worse from the year 900 to 1000, than there were from 1100 to 1200; if therefore they were not antichrists, how shall these be? But in truth it is not their peculiar wickedness which ought to be considered (though this in no slight degree promoted the public opinion which prevailed respecting the approach of Antichrist, and certainly entered into the beginning of the third woe), but rather that worst form of a new kingdom established by Gregory VII., which is most opposed to the kingdom of Christ, and most deadly to the Church.

PROP. 8. The year 1077 properly contains the beginning of the Papacy of Hildebrand.—The subject of this year itself is treated of in Proposition 7: the part of the year, in Proposition 9.

PROP. 9. In the year 1077, the month of September deserves consideration, and the first day of that month.—The Indiction accompanies the Epoch of the Totality of Hildebrand, which was then commencing with the month of September, and that the first Indiction. The letters to the Corsicans, exhibited in Proposition 7, are distinguished by the beginning of the first Indiction.

We do not say that the rising out of the sea was completed in a moment; but it has a remarkable extent, and that indeed, if you please, from Gregory VII. to Alexander III. See Erkl. Offenb. p. 670. The horoscope however, so to speak, comes to be observed.

PROP. 10. Neither enemies, nor friends of the truth, ought to lead us away from the truth of this interpretation.—I bear dissent from my opinion more easily than the Epicrisis supposes, p. 382. But when the ancient testimony of the truth, as far as its chief portion is the genuine interpretation of the beast as referring to the Papacy, is endangered, and illustrious men, who are in fault however on this point, now at this particular point abandon the interpretation, there is just ground for grief: and the more shall join their suffrages with them, the greater will the fear become of injury about to follow. The right exposition, which sees the Papacy under the description of the beast, adds much greater strength for patience and faith (ch. Revelation 14:12), than that inferior one, which looks for it under the description of the whore. And altogether it is injurious to depart from the genuine meaning of the prophecy. The Divine of Halle, p. 383, denies that those witnesses of the truth regarded the Papacy as the beast. But there were many who did so regard it: as Purvæus, before the Reformation; and after it, Cluver: others undoubtedly regarded it as the other beast, which was most closely united with that, Revelation 13, as Luther did.

The same (Lange) does not remember that he has ever heard or read, that the whore is plainly the city of Rome, namely, in so far as the city is to be distinguished from the Papacy, which must be regarded as the beast of the Apocalypse: and he applies to me the appearance of singularity in my opinion. Whether it is the author, says he, who prates foolishly, or I IN COMPANY WITH OTHERS, let the reader judge. Epicr. p. 385, and the following. Pareus is expressly on my side: Comm. on the Apoc. col. 874, 892; nor do I add others. For all, who recognise the Papacy as pointed out in ch. 13 of the Apocalypse (and they are very many), cannot fail likewise to distinguish Babylon from it, although they do not all make the distinction with equal propriety. I often appear an innovator, when I bring forward again ancient truth, here recognised by Luther in almost all particulars: Nor do I deny, that, the knowledge of ancient sentiments, without any prejudging of the authority, has given me no little assistance. See Erkl. Offenb. pp. 1111, 1121. Let us return to the subject.

The Divine of Halle is right indeed in teaching, that the beast is different from the where, and that the same is regarded, either as a body, or as an individual: but he neither distinguishes the paragraphs which treat respecting the body, and respecting the individual; nor the sea and the bottomless pit, from which the beast has its twofold origin; nor its heads and horns; nor has he a sufficiently large idea of Rome, if the Papacy were removed. Epicr. pp. 385, 387, 388, 393. Wherefore we will unfold these parts also by observations as distinct as possible. Attend. ye who love the truth.

Obs. 1. The beast of the Apocalypse is the Romish Papacy, which has now reigned through many years.—This is the sum and substance of Proposition 5. Where that ends, there the remainder of this consideration begins.

Obs. 2. The beast has both ten horns and seven heads.—John plainly writes this.

Obs. 3. The seven heads are both seven hills and seven kings: and the same are different from the ten horns.—The former part of the Observation is expressly written and extant: the seven heads are the seven hills on which the woman sits, and are seven kings. Nor would it have been possible for one of the heads of the beast to be as it were wounded to death, if it were a hill apart from a king. As to the other part of the Observation, the heads are heads, the horns are horns: the heads are seven, the horns ten. They are not synonyms, nor are the horns changed into heads; for they are mentioned conjointly. The heads succeed one another: the horns are at the same time. The heads extend themselves through the whole duration of the beast: the horns are at the close of the time of the beast. The heads are of the substance of the beast: the horns are something adscititious. We have here brought together the differences into one accumulated mass: whatever of them is doubtful, will be confirmed by-and-by. The Divine of Halle, without perceiving the difference between the beast of Daniel and the Apocalypse, has not even been able to account for the remarkable difference between the heads, of which the beast of the Apocalypse (not so that in Daniel) has seven, and the ten horns: and on the contrary, he has made a wide, but unfortunate, separation between the seven heads and the seven kings. He suspects that the kings are Pharaoh, Jeroboam, Ahab, Nebuchadnezzar. Antiochus (what connection is there between these and the mountains of Rome?), Domitian, Antichrist: but he says that the heads are likewise the kings and horns in one age; and that by the rooting up of three of them the number ten, under Antichrist, is changed into the number seven.—Comm. Apoc. f. 202.

Obs. 4. The rising of the beast out of the sea, is different from his rising out of the bottomless pit.—The Apocalypse often makes mention of the sea, often the bottomless pit; but it never uses these two names promiscuously, and in the places respecting the beast it makes a most clear distinction: for in this passage the beast ascends out of the sea; and ch. Revelation 11:7, his ascent out of the bottomless pit is represented in such a way, that the same is described, ch. Revelation 17:8, by a head as though future. This must be carefully kept in mind.

Obs. 5. The heads of the beast do not begin before his rising out of the sea, but contemporaneously with that rising itself.—What advance is made in understanding, when the beast, as the subject, is designated from Romulus, Brutus, etc., as the chief men of Rome, or at all events from Pharaoh, Jeroboam, etc., as the forerunners of Antichrist (respecting whom the Gebhards and Lange are for the most part agreed)? Nay, it is the things predicated of the beast that are described by a vivid representation [Hypotyposis.—Append.] of his future circumstances and actions: and this tends to instruction. Just as, after the casting of the dragon out of heaven, and after the beginning of the third woe, the beast arose out of the sea: Prop. 5, Obs. 4; so the feet, and the mouth, and the horns, etc., do not precede the rise of the beast, but accompany and follow it: nor ought the heads alone to be excepted, and to be thought to be prior to that rising; for the name of blasphemy is said to be upon the heads without any exception, namely, all (just as there are crowns upon all his horns): nor are times assigned to one or two of the more recent heads, but to the beast itself which arose out of the sea; a point which ought to be most accurately noticed, although the heads cannot subsequently be separated from the successive times. Again, the heads begin together with the rising out of the sea itself; for the beast is never without a head: and so in the very first time mention is made of one head, that is, the first, smitten with a deadly blow.

Obs. 6. The heads succeed one another.—D. Lange rightly acknowledges that the kings succeed each other: therefore also the heads succeed each other, for the heads are kings: Obs. 3. The succession is declared in the following Observation.

Obs. 7. That space of time, which has a series of seven heads, is divided into three clauses, or into three articles.—Five (of the kings, who equally with the hills are signified by the heads of the beast) have fallen: one is: the other is not yet come; and when he is come, he must continue a little space.

Obs. 8. The present time, in reference to which the angel speaks (Revelation 17:1; Revelation 17:10), falls into the middle clause.—The present time is, according to the Divine of Halle, in reference to the vision of John; whence he gives this interpretation: One (that is, Domitian) is, and the other (that is, Antichrist) is not yet come. But this expression, one is, and that, which we shall presently see, the beast is not, correspond with each other; nor can that, is not, whichever way you turn it, be in any way applied to the Roman empire according to the time of the vision: or does the subsequent clause, the other is not yet come, permit that this, one is, should be applied to Domitian. For the particle not yet excludes the interval between one and the other, who are strictly joined together even by the contradistinction between the five kings, and the one and the other. But Domitian was slain more than 1600 years ago; and to the present day that expression holds good: the other is not yet come. The present time, in speaking, is often the present in reference to the series of events itself. Such is the expression, thou didst gird thyself, etc., John 21:18. From this the prophets address future persons as if they were already born and alive; for instance, Ezekiel 38:17. Thus the first and the second woe are said to have gone: Revelation 9:12; Revelation 11:14. Add the expressions: they lived; who has; they shall be: ch. Revelation 20:4; Revelation 20:6. Comp. ch. Revelation 17:12; Revelation 17:14. This very method of speaking was remarkably proved by Bossuet, not to mention others, in the general thesis; for the particular hypothesis, which it supported, is nothing, being refuted by others long ago, and that with more labour than was necessary. So, in this passage, the angel plainly expresses three times, placing both himself and John in the middle of them, that is, in the second; in order that with a more suitable difference the first time may be declared to be in the past, the second in the present, and the third in the future: nor was there any other cause, why the angel should rather assume for the present, that time in which the beast is not, than that in which it is.

Obs. 9. The duration of the beast is itself divided into the same articles.—The beast was; he is not; he will ascend out of the bottomless pit and perish, etc.: ch. 17 in Revelation 13:8 twice, and in Revelation 13:11. Between these Versicles this is inserted as if parallel: five have fallen; one is; one is not yet come, etc.: Revelation 13:11. The sum made up from both is, the beast from the sea; the beast not yet; the beast from the bottomless pit.

Obs. 10. Babylon is Rome.—The name, Rome, ῥώμη, is so called from strength: whence formerly the same was called Valentia. The mighty city, ch. Revelation 18:10, is so called by Antonomasia [an Appellative for a proper name.—Append.], not by way of epithet. All things, which the Apocalypse says respecting Babylon, apply to Rome, and Rome only. This is Babylon, until it is entirely destroyed: but when did it begin to exist? Then, when it began to be mighty. When Babylon ceased to exist in the East, it emerged in the West. It existed therefore already in the time of the apostles; and their just cause is said to be “avenged” on Babylon, ch. Revelation 18:20, not for this reason, because the apostles predicted that avenging judgment, which reason is alleged by D. Lange in Comm. Ap. f. 213, who restricts Babylon to the degenerate hierarchy in Century VII., and thus makes it too late; but because, as she slew the saints and prophets, so also she slew the apostles. Comp. Revelation 18:24. The first mention of Babylon is, ch. Revelation 14:8; nor is it there indicated, that Rome was then beginning to be Babylon: but just as the Lamb, who was long ago the Lamb, is presupposed as such in the Apocalypse; and, on the contrary, the dragon, which had long ago been the dragon, is presupposed as such: so Babylon, which had long been Babylon, is presupposed as such. The present time of Babylon in action is determined in the Apocalypse by those things, which are attributed to the city.

Obs. 11. The beast reigns both before the kingdom of Babylon and after the kingdom of Babylon.—The Divine of Halle rightly judges that it is not possible for both the whore and the beast to rejoice at the same time in so great a kingdom: but he also places the reign of the beast not until after the reign of the whore. First the beast reigns, ch. Revelation 13:1, etc.: then Babylon, ch. Revelation 17:1, etc.; and the beast a second time, the same ch. Revelation 13:8, etc. My analysis accurately keeps to the order of the text: the Epicrisis does not.

Obs. 12. The heads are of the very substance of the beast; the horns are something adscititious. The wound of one head is said to be also the wound of the beast itself: but the horns, or kings, TOGETHER WITH the beast, receive the kingdom, ch. Revelation 13:3, Revelation 17:12. Moreover the seven kings, not by themselves, but together with the hills, are the heads of the beast: therefore they have that close connection with the city, which none but the Roman pontiffs have; and they are the pontiffs themselves. But that one expression, the horns AND the beast, same ch. Revelation 13:16, sufficiently distinguishes the horns from the beast, as something subsidiary.

Obs. 13. Into the first division (Obs. 7) fall the XLII. months of the beast; which certainly comprise some centuries.—The beast arose out of the sea, A. 1077, and shortly afterwards power was given to him for XLII. months: moreover that power has continued to the present time. The nearer determination of this point is explained elsewhere.

Obs. 14. The non-being of the beast and the kingdom of Babylon are contemporaneous.—The prophecy plainly fixes each of these to the middle of the three divisions, of which the duration of the beast is made up. The beast raged vehemently after his ascent from the sea, until his kingdom became obscured by the vial of the fifth angel. But still a kingdom, though obscured, is a kingdom: and the beast, having an obscured kingdom, is still the beast. But at length matters came to such a pitch, that there was occasion for this saying (Revelation 17:8): The beast was, was the beast, that is, was reigning, and that too unjustly: and is not, is not the beast, does not reign, having lost that standing which it had when it arose from the sea: Why so? Because the Woman is seated on the beast (Revelation 17:3), and the beast is subservient to her as a beast of burden; whereas the woman, rejoicing in her rule over the kings of the earth, sits as a queen (Revelation 18:7). In such a form is she brought forward upon the stage, under the third woe, after the rising of the beast out of the sea (Revelation 13:1), and of the other beast out of the earth (Revelation 13:11), after the affairs of the 14th chapter, and therefore after the pouring out of the vials, until the beast arising out of the bottomless pit (Revelation 11:7, Revelation 17:8), having joined unto him the ten kings, shall suddenly destroy her.

Obs. 15. At that time especially will be brought to light the difference, which there has never ceased to be, between Rome and the Pope.—Vitringa, Anacr. p. 756, has too slightly defined the difference between Rome and the Pope; and therefore the Divine of Halle has with greater speciousness concealed the Papacy under Rome. We have shown a more ample difference in the Erkl. Offenb. pref. § ix. and pp. 689, 776, 777, and on the whole of ch. 17, especially p. 845; but since those things, which are there noticed in a scattered manner, are overlooked by many, we will in this one place explain the matter more distinctly and fully. When Rome is mentioned, even apart from the Pontiff, three things are spoken of,—the city on seven hills, the Church of Rome, and the Roman state. Is. Newton, in his Observ. on Dan., Guil. Suderman being the translator, describes the Roman state with such a meaning, as to interpret the three horns, which were torn up by the little horn, of the reduction of the Exarchate, of the kingdom of the Lombards, and of Rome and its Senate, under the power of the Pope. This opinion, which represents the horn too early, being set aside, the whole passage will admirably help towards forming a just idea respecting the Roman state. “Rome,” he says, “with its dukedom, which comprised a part of Etruria and Campania, revolted from the Greek emperors, A.C. 726, and became a free republic, under the government of the Roman Senate. The authority of this Senate at length became supreme in civil affairs; the authority of the Pope up to this time not extending beyond ecclesiastical affairs:” p. 53. Again: “In the year 796, Leo III., being created Pontiff, by an embassy informed Charles the Great of his election, sending at the same time as a gift golden keys of the Confession of Peter, and also a banner of the city of Rome: the former indeed, as an admission that the Pope held the cities of the Exarchate of Ravenna and Lombardy by the gift of Charles; the latter, to signify to the king, that he should return and subdue the Senate and people of Rome, just as he had subdued the Exarchate and kingdom of the Lombards. For the Pontiff asked at the same time of Charles, that he should send some of his princes to Rome, who might subject to him the Roman people, and bind them by an oath, in fidelity and subjection, as Sigonius relates the words which he used. An anonymous poet, edited by Boecler, at Strasburg, describes it in this manner:—‘And he admonished him with pious prayers, that he might be pleased to send some of his own chiefs, and to render the people of Rome subject to him, and compelling them to promise the keeping of their compact of fidelity by great oaths.’(141)

Ex propriis aliquos primoribus, ac sibi plebem

Subdere Romanam, servandaque fœdera cogens

Hanc fidei sacramentis promittere magnis.

“Hence a disagreement arose between the Pope and the Roman citizens. And these indeed, two or three years afterwards, aided by some of the clergy, stirred up such great tumults against him, as to become the cause of a new aspect of affairs throughout the whole West. For two of the clergy accused the Pope of certain crimes; and shortly afterwards the Romans seized upon him with armed force, stripped him of his sacerdotal vestments, and imprisoned him in a monastery. But when, by the aid of his friends, he had escaped, he fled into Germany, to Charles the Great, to whom he complained of the Romans, as though they opposed him with this intent, that they might shake off the whole authority of the Church, and recover their ancient liberty. In his absence, his accusers laid waste with their forces the dominions of the Church, and sent the heads of the accusation to Charles the Great. But he, before a year was yet completed, sent back the Pope with a great retinue of attendants to Rome. The nobles and bishops from Francia [between the Loire and the Seine], who attended upon him, examined the chief of his accusers at Rome, and sent them into Francia for imprisonment. This happened in the year 799. In the next year Charles himself went to Rome, and on an appointed day presided over a Council of Italian and Frank bishops, to hear both sides. But when the adversaries of the Pope expected that they should be heard, the Council determined, that he, who was the supreme judge, was too great to be judged by any one except himself: upon which he in a solemn speech professed his innocence before the people, and was thus regarded as acquitted. A short time afterwards, on the day on which the memory of the Lord’s birthday was celebrated, the Roman people, who hitherto had elected their own bishops, and who thought that they and their Senate duly possessed the rights of the ancient Senate and people of Rome, elected Charles as Emperor, and submitted themselves to him in the same manner in which the ancient Roman empire and its Senate were formerly subject to the Roman emperors. The Pope placed a diadem upon his head, and anointed him with sacred oil, and adored him with bended knees, as was formerly done to the Roman emperors; the poet above quoted relating it in these words:—‘Therefore after the giving of praises, the chief Pontiff also adored the same, as was formerly the custom due to great princes.’(142)

Præsul adoravit, sicut mos debitus olim

Principibus fuit antiquis.

“On the other hand, the Emperor bound himself by this oath to the Pope:—‘In the name of Christ, I, Charles the Emperor, vow and promise, in the presence of God and the blessed Apostle Peter, that I will be the protector and defender of this holy Roman Church, in all its interests, as far as I shall be supported by the Divine aid, according to my knowledge and ability.’ Moreover the Emperor was also created Consul of the city of Rome, and his son Pepin was crowned King of Italy; and from that time he wished that his name should be written in this manner: ‘The most serene Charles Augustus, crowned by God, the mighty, the peace-maker, governing the Empire of Rome, or Emperor of the Romans:’ and prayers were offered for him in the churches at Rome. From this time also the Roman coins were stamped with his image. But the adversaries of the Pope, three hundred in number of the Romans, and two or three of the clergy, were condemned to death. The former were all beheaded on one and the same day in the Lateran plains; but the latter were pardoned at the intercession of the Pope, and they were sent into exile to Francia. And thus the title of Roman Emperor, with which the Grecian emperors, or those of the East, had hitherto been honoured, was transferred to the King of Francia in the West. After these things Charles gave to the Pope the principality of the city and of the Roman dukedom, subject however to himself, as Emperor of the Romans. He passed the winter at Rome in political affairs, and in settling those matters which had reference to the Apostolic See; I should rather say, in arranging the business of the whole of Italy, as well civil as ecclesiastical, and in passing new laws concerning them: in the next summer he returned into Francia, having left the state under the government of the Senate, both the one and the other being subject to the Pope and himself. But having heard that his new laws were neither observed by the judges in the administration of justice, nor by the people in obedience to him, and moreover, that the more powerful carried off from free men, yea, even from churches and monasteries, slaves, to labour in their own vineyards, fields, and pastures; that they even proceeded to exact from these flocks and wine, and to oppress those who were ministering in the churches; he wrote to his son Pepin, and admonished him to remedy these evils, to take care of the Church, and to see that his laws were observed.”—P. 55, etc. Many other things, if it is necessary, may be read in Newton. What the Church of Rome is, apart from the Pontiff, is seen, 1) When a council is held, either before the confirmation of the Pontiff, or without it: 2) When in a schism there is a contest concerning the lawful Pope: 3) When the See is vacant, especially for a longer time than usual, and there is an interregnum, or inter-pontificate, and a conclave: 4) When zeal for Catholicism is exercised, even by those who are not so much captivated with the pontifical dignity: 5) When the Pope himself is suspected by the Inquisition, or is unsatisfactory to the chiefs of the orders, for instance, to the general set over the Jesuits. In fine, it is unnecessary to say how Rome on its seven hills, together with its walls, temples, palaces, and dwellings, differs from the Pope. Upon the whole, Rome, viewed both architecturally, and politically and ecclesiastically, has something apart from the Pope. Rome scarcely shines, except by the rays of the Pope, as was seen when the Pope had his See at Avignon: on this account few perceive that Rome is distinct from the Pope. But the position of each will be changed: the woman will reign, the beast will carry her. Then indeed the difference will present itself to the eyes of all.

Obs. 16. The beast is a body, in the first and second portion of his duration: in the third, he is an individual.—Two great errors have long existed, one of which regards the seventh head only of the beast as the Papacy of many ages; the other regards the whole beast with his seven heads as an individual antichrist. On the contrary, the beast with seven heads is the Papacy of many ages: the seventh head is the Man of Sin, who is called by many Antichrist. The beast is a body, from ch. Revelation 13:1, to ch. Revelation 17:7. He is a body and an individual, ch. Revelation 17:8-11, according to different periods. He is an individual, from ch. Revelation 17:12, to ch. Revelation 19:20. These things, as I hope, are distinct and easy. The Divine of Halle indeed says, that the beast is first a body, and then afterwards an individual; but he treats it in ch. 13 as an individual, and in ch. 17 as a body. It is plain, of what character this is. I have not quoted the things, which are noticed in the Epicrisis, pp. 387, 388, as the sentiments of others (as D. Lange understands it), although Bibera at least includes the whole duration of the beast in the 3½ years; but as a discordant consequence, which would result from the opinion that confines the beast with its body itself within the limits of 3½ years. For with the rising of the beast out of the sea begins the series of seven heads (as we have shown in Obs. 5), which far exceeds 3½ years, especially since it is only to the last head or king that a short space (Revelation 17:10) of continuance is attributed.

Obs. 17. That individual is the seventh head of the beast; or the other king after the five and the one; he himself the eighth, and also of the seven (Revelation 17:10-11).—He is of the seven heads or kings, in so far as he is the Pope: but he himself is the eighth, or the beast itself, and not merely a head, not in so far as he is the Pope, but in so far as he introduces from the bottomless pit wickedness of a new and altogether peculiar character. A similitude will explain the matter: A tree of seven branches, of which six are somewhat slender and the seventh very thick, still continues a tree, if the six are cut off, and the seventh remains. Comp. Erkl. Offenb. p. 885. But he is said to be the eighth, before he is said to be of the seven; because he will not enact the part of the Pope—sooner than he will the Man of Sin. My German Exegesis, together with the parentheses of D. Lange, is this. “The beast, with reference to the last head, or rather (the commentator himself is not certain) at that time, when the last head, and strictly speaking the beast itself, as the eighth, rages, is an individual person (which however will not be any Pope),” etc.: Epicr. p. 387. I reply: The expression, or rather, does not imply doubt respecting the fact, but it only subjoins to an inadequate expression one which is adequate, the comparison of which two may not be useless to the reader. There is no reason why the last Pope, by far the worst of all, should not have that destruction, which is mentioned, Revelation 19:20, and which follows the desolation of Babylon.

Obs. 18. He is the Impious One, the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition, who Opposeth and Exalteth himselfthe Wicked One.—Thus the Scripture terms him, and especially Paul, 2 Thessalonians 2:3. And I should wish that my Annotations on that passage may be referred to here.

Obs. 19. The same is called by a word very commonly used, Antichrist.—The term, Antichrist, where the Epistles of John are not in question, and beyond these it does not occur in the Scripture, is most conveniently set aside in this discussion, on account of the Homonymia [Append.]. For it is spoken either with reference to Antichristianity, which arose about the time of the apostles, in which sense John himself wrote, that even then there had already been not one, but many antichrists, 1 Ephesians 2:18 : or with reference to the Papacy, which had now borne rule for many ages, in which sense most of the Protestants take it: or with reference to the Man of Sin in an individual, as the Divine of Halle especially takes it. I do not employ a word which has become so ambiguous, except when I either treat of the Epistles of John, or when I quote the sentiments of others, who employ the word: and if I should make use of it in discussing the Apocalypse (although that Wicked One will call himself God, and not Christ), I should use it in the same sense in which the Divine of Halle does; and yet he denies, that I have a right idea of Antichrist: Epicr. pp. 375, 389. He would not deny it, if he had leisure for an attentive perusal at least of my Preface.

Obs. 20. The ten horns or kings, together with the beast, receive power as kings for one hour.—That is openly stated, Revelation 17:12. The individual beast is meant: and the one hour is the time of their carrying on the kingdom; since the ten horns shortly afterwards give it to the beast. The beast was lately said not to be: wherefore he receives power afresh, and with him the kings, who after the interval of an hour give their power also, so recently acquired, to the beast.

Obs. 21. The whole strength of the Roman monarchy, which is divided into ten kingdoms, shall be bestowed upon the beast.—This is stated, ch. Revelation 17:13; Revelation 17:16-17. There shall be not only ten kingdoms, but ten kings; and those kings altogether devoted to the beast with a wonderful agreement.

Obs. 22. The ten horns, and the beast, shall make the whore desolate.—This is said, ch. Revelation 17:16. The most important particle, καὶ, and, which is commonly omitted, is defended at the proper place.

Obs. 23. At last the beast, with the ten horns, and the other kings of the earth, shall rush into that great destruction.—This is written, Revelation 19:19; and that the ten horns are there contained under the kings of the earth, is plain from ch. Revelation 17:14; Revelation 17:17, at the end.

Obs. 24. The prophecy of Daniel, in whatever way you explain it, presents no obstacle to this consideration.—The things which we have hitherto learned from the Apocalypse, lead us to the very close of the beast and of the ten horns, and are plain of themselves: nor are they weakened by Daniel, whether Lange’s interpretation of it or any other be true. Grant that the fourth beast in Daniel is the Græco-Syriac kingdom; or that the little horn is Mahomet (which opinion the Epicrisis certainly refutes by a rather inadequate method, pp. 404, 405); or that the ten horns have one meaning in Daniel and another in John (for in the former, after the ten horns there rises a horn, Daniel 7:24, in the Chaldee; whereas, in the latter, the ten horns receive the kingdom, together with the beast: ch. Revelation 17:12): none of these things is opposed to my interpretation. For inasmuch as the beast of the Apocalypse has a kind of resemblance also to the third, the second, and the first of Daniel, as we saw in Proposition 5, Obs. 2, and yet is not the same with any of them: so the resemblance which the beast of the Apocalypse bears to the fourth beast of Daniel, does not prove that it is the same beast. I wish to say this for the sake of those who interpret Daniel in a different manner from our interpretation of the Apocalypse, or who at any rate are in doubt respecting the interpretation of Daniel. But let us proceed.

Obs. 25. The fourth beast of Daniel is the Roman monarchy.—The Græco-Syriac kingdom is contained under the four wings or heads of the third beast; nor by itself does it attain to the vastness of the whole beast, much less of the fourth, which is so widely distinct from the former. The successive series of the ten horns can with difficulty be shown in it, much less that of one time, as the text requires. In short, that kingdom expired much more quickly than either the fourth beast perished, or the Stone was cut out. Nothing remains, except the Roman empire, as Abbadie on Apoc. T. iv. pp. 446–537, besides others, proves on good grounds; and Janus on the Four Monarchies. If the Roman empire had been omitted, there would have been one hiatus, and that a great one, between the beasts of Daniel and that of the Apocalypse. But both Daniel, ch. 2 and 7, and the Apocalypse, ch. 13–19, from different beginnings of the kingdoms which they describe, arrive, by a continuous thread, at one and the same goal, at Christ and His universal kingdom.

Obs. 26. The same beast is something continuous, from the beginning of the Roman monarchy until the thrones are set: and comprises in itself the beast of the Apocalypse and the woman, and many other different subjects.—It is of no great consequence what victory in particular it was which gave a beginning to the Roman monarchy. Whatever that beginning was, from it even to the goal the fourth of the four monarchies is like a river, which has but one channel from its fountain, but sometimes imbibes certain streams,—sometimes is itself divided into several streams, and yet remains one continuous river. First of all the Roman power was undivided, then certain commencements of a division arose, and the division itself into the East and West, which has had many vicissitudes. Then the kings of the Heruli, the Goths, and the Lombards, claimed to themselves a part of the Roman power; as did the Exarchs, the Romans themselves, the Carlovingian and German emperors, without excluding other kings. Whatever power either the Pope also or the city had before Gregory VII., that the beast of Daniel directly comprises: whatever power the Papacy from Gregory VII. (who is distant a period [Chronus] from Augustus), even under a spiritual form, exercises over the city, over the Patrimony of Peter, over its vassals, over kings, over peoples, that the beast of the Apocalypse represents. But again, the beast of the Apocalypse itself, and also Rome, together with its last power—and moreover that which withholdeth or letteth (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7), and he who is withheld, are comprehended under the beast of Daniel; which, on account of the Papacy, is different from all the former beasts: ch. Revelation 7:7. In Daniel the series of princes is much longer than it is in the Apocalypse. The very variety of the parts, of which the fourth beast in Daniel is made up, exhibits the principal difference between it and the three former beasts: and the third beast indeed, after the death of Alexander the Great, comprised many different elements, and yet was one; but the fourth has a much greater variety of parts, in such a manner, however, that both conjointly they differ from the third, and, cohering with one another, they exhibit one beast.

Obs. 27. The things which Daniel saw respecting the ten horns, thus also agree with our interpretation of the Apocalypse.—In Daniel three of the ten horns are plucked up, on the coming up of the little horn; but in the Apocalypse the ten horns in their full number join themselves to the beast, at his last time. The ten, therefore, are earlier in Daniel than in the Apocalypse. You may say that the form is different, but the material the same; and therefore that John, with reference to Daniel, in the text makes mention of the horns before all things, in Revelation 13:1, but that afterwards he continually places them after the heads. Long ago, especially in the later ages, there were various lineaments and preparations for the denary of kings: the denary itself was not yet clearly apparent: nor the ternary of those who are represented as torn up. But the ten will arise; and, as far as can be supposed from a comparison of the two prophecies of the ten kings, another little horn (Daniel 7:8), a prince of no great power, will subdue three who are neighbours to himself: and he also, to the wonder of the inhabitants of the earth, having been increased with fresh malice from the bottomless pit, will himself receive the kingdom, and with him ten kings, according to a new division; and he will also be both the eighth, and of the seven; and the ten kings, after a reign of one hour, will bestow their power upon him. Daniel himself, ch. 7, in one verse, the 20th, with reference to the ten horns, and the three, mentions another: and afterwards, much more plainly, that horn which had eyes, and a mouth speaking great things.

Obs. 28. Nor are the things which Daniel saw respecting the little horn at variance with this.—The little horn, which differs from the fourth beast, as a part does from the whole (for in Revelation 13:11 it is not used for the beast himself), is the beast of the Apocalypse, either with seven heads, or the individual beast. If it is the beast with seven heads, it is well; if the individual (so that, as Christ is the Horn of salvation, so the Adversary may be the Horn of destruction), yet that horn appears to have had a much more rapid rise in Daniel, so that three of the ten kings are cast down before that the beast with the ten kings receives the kingdom. However it is, the things which in Daniel are applied to the horn, are spoken m the Apocalypse respecting the beast with seven heads, as a mouth speaking great things and blaspheming, war with the saints, and victory over them: nor is that opposed to us. For the actions which the beast wickedly performs in the first period of his duration, he with heinous vehemence persists in carrying on during the third: on which very account the action of the individual beast is more sparingly described in ch. 17 and 19; because in point of fact many things are to be repeated from ch. 13. See Erkl. Offenb. p. 893. There is in this fact the fuller intimation that the subject, though regarded in different points of view, has the same predicates.

Obs. 29. The times of the beast in Daniel and in the Apocalypse have a sweet mutual agreement.—The 3½ times, while the horn bears rule, Daniel 7:25, and the 42 months of the beast raging, Revelation 13:5, and the ὀλίγον, the short space of his continuing, ch. Revelation 17:10 (not to add the other passages which we have touched upon above, at ch. Revelation 6:2), the Epicrisis, pp. 390, 399, with great positiveness takes for 3½ years, and those ordinary years; and so also the Comm. Ap. f. 203. With obvious facility the month of 30 days has long ago commended itself to many, so that 1260 days, 42 months, and 3½ years should be equivalent to each other: but this very facility is proved to be deceitful by a comparison of the computations of natural days, months, and years, which present difficulties in their mutual proportions. Neither in the age of John, nor in that of Daniel, are there found single years, which contained 360 days, without intercalated days; much less are there 3½ years, which contained 1260 days, as even the years of Nabonassar prove, which are more ancient than the time of Daniel. Time has different significations in different places: see Erkl. Offenb. pp. 130, 131, 148: and a time ( καιρὸς) in the Apocalypse is longer than a year, even than a prophetic year: and 3½ years, or 42 months, are longer than 1260 days, whether you regard them as prophetic or ordinary years, months, and days. See Erkl. Offenb. p. 136, etc. Whence the arguments brought forward by D. Lange in his Comm. Apoc., in favour of a period of 3½ years, will be done away. Seizius, with many others, rested on the year-day: the Divine of Halle is the chief maintainer of an ordinary day. After an examination of the systems of the one and the other, the true analysis of the times, leading me between the two (see 18, note), is wonderfully confirmed, which is not to be undone by any sudden or deliberate assault. I have considered the chronology of Daniel, as far as relates to the last times, in the order of the times, p. 371, etc. [Ed. ii. p. 319, etc.]. The secret of the times is laid open in the Apocalypse, and by means of it in Daniel: and most sacred adjurations in both prophecies have reference to that very point. The interpretation which reduces long periods of time in them to a short space, cannot fail to cause great confusion. There is a parallelism of the times in Daniel and in the Apocalypse, but it is of a hidden character, and, when you have once found it, well put together, far beyond the agreement of the 1260 days, the 42 months, and 3½ times. See Ord. Temp., as cited above, and pp. 322, 323. [Ed. ii. pp. 274, 275.] As far as relates to the three passages quoted, the parallelism sought in them destroys itself. We will hereafter compare the first passage with the third, at ch. Revelation 17:10; but the second differs widely from the third, and therefore also from the first. The 42 months precede the vials, and almost exhaust the first portion (division) of the beast, Obs. 9, 13; but after the vials there is ὀλίγον, a short space, and 3½ times, in the third portion. The period is not equal, much less the same. The variety of prophetic periods is much too elegant and skilfully contrived, for us to suppose that so many things should come to be thrown together into one mass.

Obs. 30. It is only by this method that those things which are written in each prophecy respecting the destruction of the beast are reconciled with one another.—The Epicrisis in this part also notices the resemblance only, p. 400. Daniel, he says, attributes fire to the beast: and John confirms this. Comp. p. 373. The dissimilarity is not less remarkable. I beheld, says Daniel, Revelation 13:11, until the beast was slain, and his body was destroyed: and he was given to the burning flame. That last expression, and was given, is separated from the body of the beast, both by the accent and the feminine gender in the Chaldee also, and is joined with the beast himself. Both John and Daniel speak in consideration of one and the same time of the beast, namely, the last; but Daniel means the beast in all that it comprises (comp. Obs. 26); that is, the ten horns, or kings on his head, and the single horn amidst the ten horns, and the body. John separates the ten horns from the beast. Therefore the latter says,—1) That the beast, together with the false prophet, was cast alive into the lake of fire; 2) That the other enemies, and in their number those ten, and the rest of the kings of the earth, were slain: but the former writes,—1) That the beast himself, as far as relates to the ten horns of the head, as distinguished from the body, was slain; 2) That the body, that is, the resources and power of the beast, perished; and again, 3) That the beast, as far as relates to the single horn, was thrown into the burning fire. While the first and the third division are here separated, a Simultaneum [see Append. Techn. Terms] of both with the second is indicated. The destruction of the fourth beast in Daniel is connected with the destruction of the former beasts, ch. Daniel 7:12, Daniel 2:35; Daniel 2:45, and with the destruction of the Apocalyptic beast which afterwards arose.

Thus far concerning the ten Propositions. Whatever I have spoken concerning these, I had already spoken in my German Exegesis: but because many judge, while but few read, it was right that the subject should again be submitted to the eyes, comprised as it is here in one collection. Then next the Divine of Halle, being about to examine my annotations on the verses of ch. 13 separately, considers by what means I shall show that the beast is the Papacy. But in the annotations I presuppose this, as already demonstrated, and I proceed in the handling of the text, as each portion demands. He who shall duly have made himself acquainted with the former parts, will easily reply for me: yet I will make some remarks in a summary way. He denies that any application of this verse, and of those which follow, to the Papacy, is given by me. Epicr. p. 386, etc. I have not given it in pp. 690–695, which he quotes; for there I laid down the resemblance and also the dissimilitude between the beast of Daniel and that of the Apocalypse, as was befitting. I gave the application in order, pp. 658, 678, 696, etc.; and in p. 663 I referred the reader to ch. 17, where I distinctly and fully treated of the heads and horns, p. 853, etc. On the subject of the leopard, the bear, and the lion, I was able to be the more concise, because a fuller explanation is given by those who in great numbers interpret this passage of the Papacy. Nor have the interpreters of Daniel failed to accomplish something. I do not readily write that which has been before written by others. He denies that the name of Pope (Erasmus restores ὄνομα, in the singular, from an ancient reading of Andreas of Cæsarea(143)) is blasphemous, p. 388. Since the Pope has taken this name to himself alone, he has no name greater, and therefore none more blasphemous. See Erkl. Offenb. p. 697, and add Forbes on Ap. p. 118.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-13.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

REVELATION CHAPTER 13

Revelation 13:1-10 A beast with seven heads and ten horns riseth out of

the sea, to whom the dragon giveth his power,

wherewith he blasphemeth God, and vexeth the saints.

Revelation 13:11-17 Another beast cometh up out of the earth, which

supporteth the worship of the former beast.

Revelation 13:18 The number of the beast.

Chapter Introduction

God is now coming to show his prophet that grand enemy of his church, who is emphatically called antichrist; after the determination of whose time of one thousand two hundred and sixty years, the kingdom of Christ shall begin, whether in the day of judgment, or in some period of time before that, and here upon the earth, I dare not determine.

The rise, power, and prevalency of this adversary, is described in this chapter; the opposition made to him by Christ and his followers, Revelation 14:1-20; his fall, Revelation 15:1-18:24; for which praise is given to God, Revelation 19:1-21.

This enemy of the church is showed to John by the symbol or representation of two beasts; the one having the body of a leopard, the feet of a bear, and the mouth of a lion; the other having two horns like a lamb, but speaking like a dragon, Revelation 13:11.

The reader must understand, that the rise of these beasts, their rage, and prevalency, was contemporaneous with some of the six trumpets, mentioned Revelation 8:1-13 and Revelation 9:1-21. For, Revelation 9:15, upon the sounding of the seventh trumpet antichrist began to fall; whose gradual fall we shall find more fully described in Revelation 16:1-21, by pouring out of the vials; only (as was before said) there is from Revelation 12:1-17 a more particular description of what should happen to and in the church under the first six trumpets.

The best interpreters, by these two beasts, understand the antichrist, (for in a larger sense there are more antichrists than one), and by the antichrist they understand the pope, as armed both with a secular and ecclesiastical power; yet I durst not conclude from that notion, the civil magistracy of the Roman empire, who either helped the pope into his chair, or held him there.

The greatest loss we are at, is to determine the time when the papacy began: it could not be before the pagan empire was thrown down, that was about the year 325, nor before the silence in heaven for half an hour was over, which (if that by it the rest be meant which the church enjoyed in the time of Constantine and Theodosius) was about the year 390, or 400; but if we fix the rise of the papacy there, I know no ground for it, and it would, besides, have been determined in the year 1660, or thereabouts. I think, therefore, we must distinguish between the rise and reign of antichrist. It doth not seem to me reasonable to make his reign to commence higher than the year 600, or 606, when he arrogated to himself the primacy; and that was confirmed to Boniface the Third by Phocas, in requital of Boniface’s kindness to him, who had got the empire by the base murder of Mauritius his master, and of all his children, and stood in need of the pope’s help to support him. From that time, I judge, the one thousand two hundred and sixty years should be counted; but Nemo repente fit pessimus, we must allow the papacy some time to come to this virile estate from his cradle. And I see no great harm of allowing the two hundred years, from the year 400 to 600, for this. So that I do think that in this chapter is shortly revealed what should happen to the church from about the year 400, or the space of forty-two months, or one thousand two hundred and sixty years, the time of the beast’s reign.

And I stood upon the sand of the sea: the place of John’s present residence was Patmos, which was an island, Revelation 1:9. He was yet in a vision, but thought he was upon the sea-shore, either in Patmos, or elsewhere.

And saw a beast rise up out of the sea; that is, as I should think, unexpectedly; for who would expect to see a leopard rise from thence?

Having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns: this beast is described like the dragon, Revelation 12:3, (only that is described with but seven crowns), by which we understand the devil in the heathen emperor’s of Rome; and we shall find it, Revelation 13:2, so answering Daniel’s vision of the four monarchies, that I cannot but think the Roman emperors, after the time of Theodosius, are meant, several of which were Arians, as also were the Goths and Vandals, (many of them), who from the year 402 invaded the empire, and were not beaten out till 564, little above forty years before Boniface was confirmed in his primacy.

And upon his heads the name of blasphemy: the Arians denying the eternal existence of Christ as God, may well be said to have the name of blasphemy upon them, or upon their heads: but whether by these ten heads be meant the ten sorts of governors made use of in the empire, or the ten governments into which the Goths and Vandals divided the empire, is not easy to determine, nor, possibly, much material. There are other notions about this beast: some would have it to be the devil, but he is plainly distinguished, Revelation 12:2,4, from the dragon. Some would have it to be the Turk; but we read of the worshipping of this beast, which is what we read not done to the Turkish emperors, who also began not till above the year 1200, (though indeed the Saracens began five hundred years before), but Rome, which never was the Turk’s seat, is made the seat of this beast. Some would have it to be idolatry itself; this was Grotius’s notion: see the reasons against it in Mr. Pool’s Synopsis Latina. Some would have it the pagan empire of Rome; but John never saw the first rise of that. This is a beast that rose after the dragon was cast down; which must be the Roman empire under the dominion of the papacy, in which respect only it is now one beast again; for otherwise in civil respects it is divided into ten crowned horns, i.e. distinct, independent kingdoms or principalities.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-13.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

И стал я Многие рукописи дают «Он стал», опять имея в виду дракона, или сатану (ср. 12:9, 17). Он занимает главенствующее положение среди народов своего мира, представленных количеством «как песок морской» (20:7).

выходящего из моря Образ моря олицетворяет бездну, или преисподнюю, – прибежище падших духов (ср. 11:7; 17:8; 20:1; Лк. 8:31). Это изображение сатаны, поднимающего из бездны могущественного беса, который затем побуждает зверя (антихриста) к действию и контролирует его и его империю.

зверя Буквально «монстра» (ср. 11:7); имеется в виду злобный хищный зверь. В этом контексте слово означает и само существо (антихриста) и его систему (мир). Последняя, сатанинская, мировая империя будет неотделима от подчиненного бесам человека, который будет руководить ей. Для дополнительных сведений об антихристе см. пояснение к 2Фес. 2:3-11. Он также описывается в Дан. 7:8, 21-26; 8:23-25; 9:24-27; 11:36-45.

семью головами и десятью рогами Это такое же описание сатаны, как в 12:3. Возможно, головы представляют процветавшие мировые империи – Египет, Ассирию, Вавилон, Мидо-Персию, Грецию, Рим и последнее царство антихриста (см. пояснение к 17:9, 10). В последнее царство входят все царства, представленные рогами (см. пояснение к 17:12). Десять – число, символизирующее всеобщность человеческих военных и политических сил, которые поддерживают антихриста в его господстве над миром. В Писании употреблен образ из животного мира – рога. Они всегда являются символом силы, как агрессивной, наступательной, так и оборонительной, защищающей. Даниил показывает, что человек-антихрист поднимется от этих 10 царей (Дан. 7:16-24). Иоанн подхватывает числовой образ Даниила (см. 2:41, 42) и показывает 10 пальцев на глиняно-железных ногах истукана. Апостол видит в звере олицетворение последнего мирового правительства анти-Христовой и анти-Божьей коалиции. Во главе ее стоит как бы возрожденная Римская Империя; она поддерживается различными сильными мировыми державами, но есть в ней и слабость, и в конечном итоге она разрушается (ср. Дан. 2:32-45; 7:7, 8, 19-25; см. пояснение к 12:3). Венцы показывают полновластное господство этого конфедеративного царства.

имена богохульные В течение всей истории человечества всякий раз, когда монарх отождествлял себя с богом, он тем самым хулил истинного живого Бога. Каждый правитель, который вступает в коалицию зверя, тождественен зверю: носит венец, имеет власть и осуществляет владычество, подобно Богу, хуля этим истинного Бога.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-13.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

A beast; the symbol of a great evil and persecuting power.

Out of the sea; out of the troubles, commotions, and revolutions of that period. Compare Daniel 7:2.

Seven heads-ten horns-ten crowns; it is a continuation of the same great persecuting power that has been described in the preceding chapter, but at a later age, and in another form. The horns now wear the crowns, not the heads, as before, chap Revelation 12:1; indicating that the power has been transferred to them. This beast is then identical with the fourth beast of Daniel’s vision, and represents the ten kingdoms that arose out of the ruins of the old Roman empire. See Daniel 7:24.

The name of blasphemy; showing his opposition to God and his Christ, and his arrogant assumption of the prerogatives that belong to them.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-13.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

This Chapter is introduced with an Account of a Beast arising from the Sea, to whom the Dragon gives his Power. Another Beast cometh also at the same Time upon the Earth. This latter causeth the Earth to worship the Image of the former, and to receive his Mark.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/revelation-13.html. 1828.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Chapter 13 The Beasts From the Sea and the Earth.

‘And I saw a wild beast coming up out of the sea having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns ten diadems and on his heads names of blasphemy.’

The wild beast is a clone of the red monster who is described similarly (Revelation 12:3 compare also Daniel 7:7), and from whom he gains his authority (Revelation 13:4). Thus the heads and the horns refer more specifically to Satan than to this beast. He bears them to demonstrate that he is Satan’s representative at this time. In this chapter we only have the application of the heads. But the wild beast is part of the overall activity of the monster.

The ten horns represent ‘ten kings’ who receive authority from the coming scarlet beast as contemporaries ‘for one hour’ (i.e. for short period when he has ‘his hour’) - (Revelation 17:12), but they are in the future.

The seven heads have already been shown to be wearing seven diadems (Revelation 12:3). Thus the seven will be crowned before the ten. Now we learn that the ten horns will also have diadems, and that the seven heads wear names of blasphemy. The seven heads represent seven mountains and also seven kings in some kind of sequence (Revelation 17:9-10), the sixth of whom ‘is’ and therefore represents the current Roman Emperor. That being so the seven mountains are (or include) the seven mountains on which Rome is built and the seven kings are selected Roman Emperors in some kind of sequence, selected in order to make up the number seven (as with genealogies this does not exclude the possibility of gaps in the sequence). The blasphemous names on its heads refer to their claims (often half-hearted but sometimes virulent) to be divine. In Revelation 12:3 the seven horns had seven diadems.

Seven ‘kings’ are selected to represent the whole line of Emperors, for as the seven churches represented the whole church, so seven Emperors represent the whole line of Emperors. That is why the eighth is ‘of the seven’ meaning that he also relates to the Emperors or is of the same essential make-up. Caligula, who sought to erect his image in the Temple and fervently declared himself to be divine, and sought vigorously to propagate that fact, and Nero who viciously persecuted Christians in Rome, who also fervently claimed divinity, are certainly in mind in the seven.

Thus the wild beast itself may originally represent Augustus, who first accepted the title of ‘divine Emperor’ (although divinity had attached to previous Caesars), but as the head of the continuing Roman Empire which arose from the sea of peoples. The seven heads may represent the subsequent prominent Emperors Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Titus and Domitian (or any other selection), but essentially they represent the Empirate, the whole line of Emperors.

As in Daniel wild beasts are both kings and kingdoms, and heads and horns arising represent kings resulting from or connected with the first king. It was under Tiberius that the male child was taken up to God’s throne, a suitable starting point for the seven. However an equally acceptable starting point would be Caligula whose divine claims were open and determined, and he is the one shown to be prominent in the chapter. This would make Domitian the sixth and the seventh an unknown yet to come. The specific identity of the seven is relatively unimportant (except as defining when Revelation was written), what is important is their significance as representing the Empirate.

The initial growth of the wild beast, which rises already equipped with horns and heads, does not necessarily follow chronologically the events in chapter 12. His growth has already taken place ‘in the sea’, i.e. among the nations (compare Revelation 17:15), being prepared for this time. We see him emerging from the sea.

So in this chapter the wild beast clearly signifies the Roman Empire and possibly Caesar Augustus, the first Emperor of Rome as such, the horns representing successors. (This is the wild beast from the sea in contrast with the wild beast from the abyss - Revelation 11:7; Revelation 17:8). When the monster stands on the sand of the sea it is in order to specifically utilise the services of this great beast, which he will empower and control, against the people of God. He stands there to call on it to destroy God’s people. This will result in the even more intensive persecution which John foresees in the future.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-13.html. 2013.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

THE Two BEASTS (Chapter 13)

The vision of chapter twelve dramatized the enmity of the dragon for the woman--the church of Christ--and his determination in wrath to expand his war on the rest of the woman's seed to the whole of the Roman empire. It was for this reason that chapter thirteen begins with John's vision of the dragon placing himself on sands of the sea for the purpose of extending his war against the woman, whose seed was destined to destroy him, and in fury he had turned upon "the rest of her seed" in persecuting them to extinction.

(1) The composite beast of the sea--13:1-2.

1. And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea--13:1. Until this stage of vision the dragon's activities had been confined to Palestine, but now a beast rises out of the sea as the instrument by which to implement and to execute his diabolical plans. He summoned aid from Rome. The beast had seven heads and ten horns, and was the symbol of the great power of Rome. The ten horns represented the ten divisions of the Roman empire, the emperor of which was seated on a throne situated on the seven hills of Rome, the universal symbol of the imperial city.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-13.html. 1966.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The dragon stood on the seashore watching a beast come out of the sea, in John"s vision (cf. Daniel 7:2-3; Daniel 7:7-8; Daniel 7:19-27; Job 40-41). The AV and NKJV rendering "I stood" does not have as good textual support, I believe, as the NASB and NIV "he stood."

"... people in Asia minor thought of whatever came "from the sea" as foreign and whatever came from the land as native. That Isaiah, one of the initial expressions of the first beast was Rome, whose governors repeatedly came by sea to Ephesus. Roman ships literally seemed to be rising out of the sea as they appeared on the horizon off the coast of Asia Minor." [Note: Beale, p682.]

The implication is that the dragon summoned the beast out of the sea. [Note: Robertson, 6:397; Johnson, p523; Mounce, p248.] Evidently this was part of his plan to destroy the rest of the woman"s offspring ( Revelation 12:17).

"The Sea is an apt symbol of the agitated surface of unregenerate humanity (cf. Isa. lvii20), and especially of the seething cauldron of national and social life, out of which the great historical movements of the world arise; cf. Isa. xvii12 ..." [Note: Swete, p161.]

"Without exception the imagery of the sea monster is used throughout the OT to represent evil kingdoms who persecute God"s people ..." [Note: Beale, p683.]

When the dragon was in position, John saw a new scene in his vision ("I saw," Gr. eidon). The sea may represent the mass of humanity (cf. Revelation 17:15; Daniel 7:2-3). However this interpretation cannot explain the sands of the seashore or the origin of the beast from the earth ( Revelation 13:11). A literal sea is impossible since this beast is a person, as we shall see. The ancient world often associated evil with the sea and used the sea as a figure for the abyss (cf. Job 26:12-13; Psalm 74:13-14; Psalm 87:4; Psalm 89:9-10; Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 51:9-10; Isaiah 57:20; Daniel 7:3; Romans 10:7). [Note: Swete, p158; Mounce, pp249-50; Morris, p165.] This figurative use of the sea seems best since elsewhere John said that the beast came out of the abyss ( Revelation 11:7; Revelation 17:8).

The beast had many of the same characteristics as the dragon. However they also correspond to the features of the fourth kingdom that Daniel saw in his vision (cf. Daniel 7:7-8). In Daniel"s vision the10 horns represented10 rulers ( Daniel 7:24). Here the Antichrist has authority over10 rulers (cf. Revelation 17).The view that the first beast is a real person who will rule the world during the Great Tribulation ( Daniel 7:25)-rather than the personification of evil, or the threat of heresy, or Nero revived (based on the Nero redivivus legend), or false prophets collectively-dates back to the early church fathers. [Note: See Johnson, pp521-25, 530. See Beasley-Murray, pp210-11, and Swete, p163, for a good summary of the Nero redivivus view. See also Andy M. Woods, "The First Beast of Revelation 13Has Not Yet Appeared in World History: A Comparison of the Preterist and Futurist Views" (Th.M. thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 2002).]

"The ten-nation confederacy of the future anticipated in these prophecies [i.e, Daniel 2, 7] would naturally be considered a revival of the Roman Empire if for no other reason than that it is portrayed as an integral part of the fourth empire." [Note: John F. Walvoord, "Revival of Rome," Bibliotheca Sacra126:504 (October-December1969):323. See also idem, The Nations ..., pp83, 102; and idem, "Prophecy of the Ten-Nation Confederacy," Bibliotheca Sacra124:494 (April-June1967):99-105.]

Like Satan, the beast had seven heads that apparently represent the remaining seven rulers of nations after three of them disappear ( Daniel 7:8). The10 regal crowns are symbols of governmental authority (cf. Revelation 12:3).

"There are a number of suggestions as to why the diadems are placed on the horns rather than on the heads of the beast. The most plausible is that his claim to authority rests on brute force." [Note: Mounce, p250.]

The blasphemous names reflect the beast"s opposition to God (cf. Revelation 13:5-6; 2 Thessalonians 2:4).

The beast is evidently Antichrist who is the head of a future empire (cf. Revelation 13:8; Revelation 13:18; Revelation 17:8). [Note: Walvoord, The Revelation . . ., p200; Swete, p161; Lee, 4:689-90; Johnson, p521; Thomas, Revelation 8-22, p153; Beckwith, p636.] No past governmental entity is similar enough to what John described to qualify as the fulfillment of this empire. The beast embodies the malevolent forces operative in this empire. [Note: Philip E. Hughes, The Book of Revelation, p145.] He will be the deification of secular authority. [Note: Mounce, p251.]

The repetition of heads, horns, and diadems ( Revelation 12:3) suggests that there is a close affinity between the dragon and this beast. Yet there are some differences in the descriptions of these heads, horns, and crowns.

"The conflict of Revelation 12:1-5 transpires while the seven world empires are running their course, but at Revelation 13:1 the focus has shifted to the last of these kingdoms when the beast will enjoy his supremacy over the ten kings who act as subrulers under his authority (cf. Revelation 17:12)." [Note: Thomas, Revelation 8-22, p154. Cf. Scott, p270; and Smith, A Revelation . . ., p193.]

John received more information about the identity of these heads, horns, and diadems in chapter17.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-13.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 13:1. A beast is seen coming up out of the sea. The word of the original translated ‘beast’ has occurred only once before (at chap. Revelation 6:8), and is wholly different from that which, to say nothing of many other passages, meets us no fewer than seven times in chap. 4 alone; and which, rendered in the Authorised Version by the same term, ought to be translated ‘living creatures.’ The ‘living creatures’ are symbolical of all that is noble and admirable, of all deep and true spiritual life; the ‘beast’ represents whatever is most violent and repulsive. It is not simply a beast but a wild beast, unrestrained in its fierce and destructive rage. This beast is beheld in the act of ascending out of the sea,—a circumstance which explains the order of the words in the next following clause, where, according to the true reading, the ‘horns’ are mentioned before the ‘heads,’ because they rise first above the surface of the water. In chap. Revelation 17:3, when the beast has risen, the heads are mentioned first.

By the ‘sea’ we are not to understand the ocean everywhere embracing and surrounding the land. The word has its usual symbolical sense, and denotes the nations of the earth, the whole mass of the ungodly. The beast not only rules over them, it springs out of them and is their native king. Although not expressly stated, there can be no doubt that this beast comes up from the sea at the call of the dragon (who had stationed himself for this purpose upon the shore, chap. Revelation 12:17), in order to serve him and be his vicegerent among men.

Having ten horns and seven heads; the same number of both as the dragon had (chap. Revelation 12:3); the order only, for the reason already spoken of, being different. It is a question how we are to think of the distribution of the horns. The probability seems to be that they are all connected with the seventh head, for in Daniel 7:7, which gives us the groundwork of the representation, they belong to the fourth beast alone, and at chap. Revelation 17:11-12, where the figure before us is interpreted, it is said that the ten horns are ten kings receiving their power along with the beast who had been spoken of as the ‘eighth.’ The beast before us is thus at no early stage of its progress. In the true spirit of prophecy we are invited to behold it in its final and completed form.

And upon his horns ten diadems, emblems of royalty. Comp. chap. Revelation 17:12 ‘the ten horns are ten kings,’ and chap. Revelation 19:12 where He who is described as ‘King of kings and Lord of lords’ has upon His head ‘many diadems,’ ‘tokens of the many royalties—of earth, of heaven, and of hell (Philippians 2:10)—which are His’ (Trench, Syn. i. p. 92).

And upon his heads names of blasphemy. No indication is given what the names were. The fact, however, that they were upon the heads is important, for there can Le little doubt that we have in this a mocking caricature of the name borne upon the forehead of the high priest, and transferred in this book to Christ’s faithful people (comp. chaps. Revelation 2:17, Revelation 7:3, Revelation 14:1).

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-13.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

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[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

Though St. Irenæus, and also St. Gregory, (lib. xxxi. mor. chap. xli.) by the first of these two beasts understand antichrist, and others would have antichrist to be meant by one of the two, yet this is not to be looked upon as absolutely certain, not being witnessed by the consent of primitive Fathers. The ancient Fathers, especially in the exposition of obscure prophecies, many times give us no more than their private opinions, or suspicions and conjectures, as St. Augustine expressly takes notice in the 20th book de Civ. Dei, (chap. xix. tom. 7. p. 597, Nov. Ed.) where he speaks of antichrist: so that though St. Irenæus had seen St. Polycarp, who was a disciple of St. John the evangelist, yet he delivers us divers things concerning antichrist, which are no more than his private opinions and conjectures, in which others do not agree with him; as that antichrist shall be of the tribe of Dan; that he shall sit in the temple of Jerusalem. He was also in an error as to Christ's reign of a thousand years upon the earth with his elect. Arethas, bishop of Cesarea, in Cappadocia, in the sixth age [century], in his commentary on the Apocalypse, (tom. vi. Bib. Patrum, Edit. Colon) speaking of this opinion, that some would have the first beast (Apocalypse xiii. 1.) to be antichrist, and others the second beast, only says: quidam sic accipiunt, &c.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-13.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Note the Figure of speech Polysyndeton. App-6.

And . . . sea. See Revelation 12:17.

and saw = and I saw (App-133.)

beast = wild beast. See Revelation 6:8.

rise up = coming up, as Revelation 7:2 (ascending).

out of. App-104.

having, &c. The texts read "having ten horns and seven heads". Compare Revelation 12:3; Revelation 17:7-12.

crowns. See Revelation 12:3.

the name. Read "names". See Revelation 17:3.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-13.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

I stood. So B, Coptic; but 'Aleph (') A C, Vulgate, Syriac, 'He stood.' Standing on the sand of the sea, Satan gave his power to the beast rising out of the sea.

Upon the sand of the sea - whence could be seen the four winds striving upon the great sea (Daniel 7:2).

Beast - `wild beast.' Man becomes "brutish" (Jeremiah 10:14), severed from God, the archetype, in whose image he was made, which ideal is realized by the man Christ Jesus. Hence, the world-powers seeking their own glory, not God's, are beasts; Nebuchadnezzar, when in self-deification he forgot that "the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men," was driven among the beasts. In Daniel 7:1-28 there are four; here the one expresses the sum total of the God-opposed world-power in its universal development, not restricted to one manifestation, Rome. This first beast expresses the world-power attacking the Church from without; the second, a revival of, and minister to, the first, the world-power as the false prophet corrupting the Church from within.

Out of the sea (Daniel 7:3; note, Daniel 8:8) - out of the troubled waves of peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues (Revelation 17:15). The earth (Revelation 13:11) means the ordered world of nations, with its civilization.

Seven heads and ten horns. 'Aleph (') A B C transpose, 'ten horns and seven heads.' The ten horns are now put first (contrast Revelation 12:3), because they are crowned. They shall not be so until the close of the fourth kingdom (the Roman), which continues until the fifth, Christ's shall supplant it: this last stage is marked by the ten toes (five on one foot, five on the other) of the image, Daniel 2:1-49. The seven implies the world-power assuming Godhead, and caricaturing the seven spirits of God; its God-opposed character is detected by ten accompanying the seven. Dragon and beast both bear crowns-the former on the heads, the latter on the horns (Revelation 12:3; Revelation 5:1). Both heads and horns refer to kingdoms: in Revelation 17:7; Revelation 17:10; Revelation 17:12, "kings" represent kingdoms whose heads they are. The seven kings-the great powers of the world-are distinguished from the ten, represented by the horns (simply "kings," Revelation 17:12), The ten mean the last phase of the world-power, the fourth kingdom divided into ten parts.

They are connected with the seventh head (Revelation 17:12), and are yet future (Auberlen). The mistake of those who interpret the beast Rome exclusively, and the ten horns kingdoms which took the place of Rome in Europe, is, the fourth kingdom in the image has TWO legs, the eastern as well as the western empire: the ten toes are not upon one foot (the west), but on the two (east and west) together. If the ten kingdoms were those which sprang up on the overthrow of Rome, the ten would be known; whereas 28 different lists are given, making in all 65 kingdoms! (Tyso in DeBurgh.) The seven heads are the seven world-monarchies-Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, the Germanic empire. Under the last we live (Auberlen); it devolved on Napoleon, after Francis, Emperor of Germany and King of Rome, resigned the title in 1806. Faber explains the healing of the deadly wound to be the revival of the Napoleonic dynasty after its overthrow at Waterloo. That secular dynasty, in alliance with the ecclesiastical papacy, "the eighth head," yet "of the seven" (Revelation 17:11), will temporarily triumph over the saints, until destroyed in Armageddon, (Revelation 19:1-21.) A Napoleon thus would be the Antichrist, restoring the Jews to Palestine, accepted as their Messiah, and afterward fearfully opening them. But the mention of the leopard, bear, and lion, answering to the first three kingdoms (Daniel 7:4-6), and the little horn of Daniel 8:1-27, and "wilful king," Revelation 11:1-19, arising out of the third, make it likely that the Antichrist about to oppress Israel is to arise from the east, the Greek empire, rather than the west: Gog, Meshech, and Tubal (Ezekiel 38:1-23, notes). The sea-beast comprises both the east and west: the earth-beast comes from the east.

Crowns - `diadems.'

Name of blasphemy. So 'Aleph (') C, Coptic, Andreas; but A B, Vulgate, 'names,' etc.-namely, a name on each of the heads; blasphemously arrogating attributes of God (note, Revelation 17:3). A characteristic of the willful king (Daniel 11:36; 2 Thessalonians 2:4).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-13.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(1) And I . . .—Better, And he (not “I stood,” as in English version, but he, i.e., the dragon) stood upon the sand of the sea. Some make this sentence a separate verse, and insert it as the closing verse of Revelation 12. It is true that the sentence has a connection with that chapter, but it is also closely linked with what follows. The way in which the dragon carries out his plan of war is described. Like Milton’s “superior fiend,” he stands upon the shore and summons his legions (Par. Lost, Book I.) to another form of war. Two monsters, one distinguished by more brutal, the other by more subtle power, rise at his bidding.

And saw . . .—Translate, And I saw a wild beast rising out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and upon his horns ten diadems, and upon his heads names of blasphemy.—The wild beast rises out of the sea. In the vision of Daniel (Revelation 7) the beasts rose out of the sea upon which the four winds strove. The sea represents the great, restless mass of human kind; or, as it is expressed in Revelation 17:15, “peoples and multitudes.” St. James represented an undecided man as a wave driven by the wind (James 1:6). The individuals, like larger and smaller waves, make up this great ocean-like mass of men, swayed by impulse or passion. Out of the sea rises a wild beast. The word is not the same as that used in Revelation 4:7 (see Note there), but is a word which implies the predominance of the beast nature. Whatever power rises is one which rules not by love or right, but by fear and wilfulness. It is the great force of the world-power, which in every age has been antagonistic to the power of right. The wild beast is always the figure of the kingdoms of this world—i.e., the kingdoms which are founded on passion or selfishness. They are seven in number, as the beast had seven heads. We read afterwards of seven mountains. These world-powers are spoken of as mountains for their strength and stability; as heads of the wild beast because, though separate, they are inspired by the dragon spirit, the spirit of utter enmity to the rule of the Righteous King. The seven kingdoms, or heads of the wild beast, are more distinctly explained in Revelation 17:10. There we read that five are fallen, one was in possession of power, and the seventh had not yet arisen. The key is thus placed in our hands. The sixth head is imperial Rome, the successor of those great world-powers which were, one and all, founded in unrighteousness—i.e., in violation of the law of brotherly kindness and faith. The heads carry the names of blasphemy. The spirit of arrogant self-sufficiency characterised all the world-powers. Illustrations would be too numerous for our space. It is enough to refer to the spirit in Babylon: “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” The words were Nebuchadnezzar’s (Daniel 4:30). He became a beast in uttering them; but the spirit of them went through all the world-powers, from the days of Lamech (Genesis 4:23-24) and Babel (Genesis 11:4) to the days when Roman poets prostituted their pens in abject flattery of emperors, and a degraded people welcomed them as gods, and put those to death who refused to offer frankincense and wine to the images of those who wore the purple.

Ten horns.—The beast has, besides seven heads, ten horns, which are explained further on (Revelation 17:12) as “the kings which have received no kingdom as yet,” but which, when they rise, will draw their strength from the dragon and be members of the wild beast.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
upon
Jeremiah 5:22
and saw
11:7; 17:8; Daniel 7:2,3
having
12:3; 17:3,7-12,16; Daniel 7:7,8,19,20,23,24
ten crowns
12:3
name
or, names. blasphemy.
5,6; 17:3,5; Daniel 7:25; 11:36; 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 12:3 - and destroy;  Psalm 89:40 - brought;  Isaiah 27:1 - in the sea;  Isaiah 37:23 - Whom hast;  Daniel 2:41 - the feet;  Daniel 2:42 - the toes;  Daniel 7:17 - out;  Daniel 11:34 - they shall be;  Romans 8:39 - height;  2 Thessalonians 2:9 - is;  1 Timothy 1:20 - blaspheme;  2 Timothy 3:2 - blasphemers;  James 3:6 - a world;  Revelation 11:2 - it is;  Revelation 11:13 - and the tenth;  Revelation 13:3 - one;  Revelation 13:11 - coming;  Revelation 16:3 - upon;  Revelation 16:13 - come out of;  Revelation 17:9 - The seven;  Revelation 17:12 - the ten;  Revelation 19:12 - on his;  Revelation 19:19 - I saw;  Revelation 19:20 - the beast;  Revelation 21:1 - and there

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-13.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

THE FIRST BEAST

(Revelation 13:1-10)

HISTORICAL REVIVAL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

1. — "And I stood upon the sand of the sea." Some read: "he stood." If the former reading be adopted, then the reference is to the Seer, but if the latter, then the dragon is meant. Hengstenberg remarks, "One cannot decide on external grounds between the two readings." Authorities are divided. But a careful study of the context shows conclusively that it is the Seer and not the dragon that "stood upon the sand of the sea."{*The Revised Version reads, the dragon "went away to make war." How inconsistent with the next notice of him, "he stood upon the sand of the sea!" Just as the Hebrew prophet by the river Ulai beheld the rise of the Persian and Grecian empires their conflicts and history (Daniel 8:1-27), so the christian seer on the sand of the sea beheld the reappearance of the fourth Beast — Rome in imperial splendour emerging out of the wild and tumultuous forces of a revolutionary crisis.} The apocalyptic prophet always takes his place or stand as a point of observation in keeping with the subject on hand. Thus Heaven (Revelation 4:1-11. l), the sand of the sea (Revelation 13:1), the wilderness (Revelation 17:3), and a high mountain (Revelation 21:10) are respective points of view from which he can contemplate the various panoramic visions as they pass before his gaze.

1. — "The sand of the sea" on which the Seer stood denotes vast multitudes of people (Revelation 20:8). The symbol is common enough as thus employed in all literature. The sand directs attention to the countless masses of mankind, while the sea as a symbol speaks of the wild and revolutionary forces and principles at work amongst them. In other words, the mass of the human race is here indicated as in a state of unrest and turmoil. In this state of things the Seer takes his stand, and "saw a beast rising out of the sea."

This Beast is without doubt the ancient Roman empire reappearing upon the prophetic scene. It arose in a similar way to the three preceding empires. "Four great beasts came up from the sea" (Daniel 7:3); that is, out of the unsettled, restless masses of mankind. The four universal empires, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome are represented both as metals (Daniel 2:1-49) and beasts (Daniel 7:1-28), and not only in the rise and initial stages of their history but at the end they are there when the Lord comes.{*The prophet takes no account of the break up and non-existent Roman power for many centuries. John shows its revival.} The first three powers,{*The first will not exist territorially, but will be found merged in her characteristics in the fourth. Babylon is doomed never to rise as a temporal power (Jeremiah 51:63-64).} shorn of their strength, are at the end merely existing, but the fourth (the Roman) will be, as in the past, the dominant power on earth. Rome originally rose out of the throes of revolution and anarchy. The city was built shortly before the ten tribes were taken captive to Assyria. The many omens and legends connected with the birth of Rome all pointed to its future greatness. But while Daniel 7:3; Daniel 7:7 refers to the historical rise of the empire, 753 B.C., the Seer in Revelation 13:1 points to its future reappearance. For more than fourteen hundred years the western Roman empire has ceased to exist,{* Rome fell A.D. 476. The last who bore the imperial crown was named Romulus Augustus, a young and feeble ruler. The former name recalled to memory the founder of the empire, whilst the latter that of the first of the imperial line} but its future revival is unquestionable, and it is to this that the first verse of our chapter refers. Whether the empire is in existence or only being formed during the time of the Seal-judgments we have no means of ascertaining. It may be that out of the general collapse of all governing authority under the sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12-17) the Beast emerges. The earlier martyrs (Revelation 6:9-11) are not slain under the persecution of the Beast, but are to wait until they were joined by those subsequently slain, showing that the Beast is not on the scene, at least not active, during the time covered by the Seals.

THE BEAST OUT OF THE SEA, AND OUT OF THE ABYSS.

The Beast then is here first viewed in its historical revival "out of the sea." But it is said also "to come up out of the abyss" (Revelation 17:8, R.V.). Both are future. The empire is to exist for seven years, but when it comes up at first it will do so out of a political and social chaos, while in its last and final stage its diabolic origin and character are intimated. The sea refers to its future historical rise, the abyss to its state under satanic power. This latter aspect of the empire dates from the casting down of Satan in "the midst of the week." Satanic character and action characterise it during the last period of its existence, three years and a half.

THE HORNS AND HEADS OF THE BEAST.

1. — Then the Beast is described as having "ten horns and seven heads, and upon his horns ten diadems." The mention of the horns precedes that of the heads (see R.V.). In the Authorised Version they are named in inverse order. But in Revelation 12:3; Revelation 17:3 we find the heads first, then the horns. Probably the reason why the horns in our text are named before the heads is that the Beast's historical appearance when revived is in a ten-kingdom form. Attention is thus called to this new and hitherto unknown feature of the empire. The diadems are on the heads of the dragon (Revelation 12:3); here they are seen on the horns of the Beast. In the former seven diadems; in the latter ten. We should read diadems, not crowns. The former denotes despotic power, the latter constitutional monarchy. Now these ten crowned horns are ten kings (Revelation 17:12). There will be witnessed soon ten distinct kingdoms in western Europe. It would be the merest guess-work to enumerate them or allocate exactly their territorial limits, but their identification will be simple enough when God in His providential arrangements brings them into view. In the history of the empire it never had this character. When it ceased to exist, then numerous kingdoms and petty states were formed, fragments of the one vast colossal empire with its one despotic head. But when revived ten kingdoms will be formed within its territorial limits. These ten kings, tired, we suppose, of continued international jealousies and quarrels, "have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the Beast" (Revelation 17:13). There shall then be but one ruler over the empire, the "little horn" of Daniel 7:1-28, the Roman prince who makes a covenant with the apostate nation for seven years (Daniel 9:27), breaks it in the midst of the period, and finally perishes at the Coming of the Lord in judgment (Revelation 19:20).

NAMES OF BLASPHEMY.

l. — Another and more awful feature is added, "upon his heads names of blasphemy." To a careless observer the empire in its vast strength and territorial extent would be most striking, but to a reflecting mind its blasphemous character as displayed in its heads, its governing authority, is an awful sight to contemplate. The seven heads on the Beast represent, not successive forms of rule, as in Revelation 17:10, but the fulness and completeness of government with which the Beast is invested in its latter-day history. It is not simply the concentration of power signified by "seven horns" (Revelation 5:6), but "seven heads," the fulness of intelligent government (Revelation 12:3).

"Upon his heads names of blasphemy."{*On the historical application the "names of blasphemy" would be those impiously borne by the emperors, several of whom insisted that divine honours and worship should be paid them. Nero was saluted as "the eternal one." Caligula commanded that his image should be placed in the temple to be worshipped side by side with Jehovah. In fact the deification of the emperors was a standing law in Roman life. This awful feature was introduced on the accession of the Caesars to imperial dominion.} The profession of Christianity having been abandoned (2 Thessalonians 2:3), public, open blasphemy of God is the sad result. The Beast will openly defy God, and set himself in determined opposition to all who are His (v. 6). This is an entirely new feature of the empire, and one characterising the last stage of its existence. Ancient Rome was heathen in character. We might reasonably have looked for those names (not name as in the A.V.) on the heads of the dragon, but no, they are on the Beast, for he it is who is to be the public witness of direct and flagrant opposition to God and His Anointed, and to all Heaven as well. Every form and character in which God could be dishonoured in the eyes of men are referred to in "names of blasphemy."

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE EMPIRE.

Revelation 13:2. — But the Beast is further represented as "like to a leopard, and his feet as of a bear, and his mouth as a lion's mouth." That is, the Beast, or imperial Rome, besides being marked by features peculiar to itself, combines and concentrates the main characteristics of the three preceding empires, "absorbs them" as another has said.{*"All the ferocious and powerful beasts which Daniel (Daniel 7:3, seq.) has successively brought upon the scene of action as the representatives of different empires John has here combined in one monster. There is much of significancy in this. The Roman empire combined in itself all the elements of the terrible and the oppressive which had existed in the aggregate in the other great empires that preceded it; its extension too was equal to them all united. Hence the propriety of the composite symbol which unites the symbols of other empires in that of Rome, and thus makes the complex unity of the latter a most significant index of power and cruelty and extent of imperial dominion." — Stuart on "The Apocalypse," page 638.} We turn to the Hebrew prophet for needful explanation as to these empires. The chapter is one connected prophecy given in vision to Daniel (Daniel 7:1-28), stretching from the advent of the conqueror of Judah to the seat of universal sovereignty, and on through the ages till the star of Judah is again in the ascendant; in other words, from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar to that of Christ as Son of Man. Now the first three empires are briefly described (Daniel 7:1-28); the Babylonian in verse four, the Medo-Persian in verse five, and the Grecian in verse six. The rest of the chapter is devoted in the main to the consideration of the fourth Beast, characterised but not named (v. 7). It will be observed that the Seer mentions the wild animals in the inverse order to that of the prophet. In Daniel the historical succession of the empires necessitates the mention first of the lion, the chosen symbol of Babylonian greatness. In Revelation 13:2 is first mentioned the leopard or third empire. Celerity of movement and sudden spring, so characteristic of the mighty Grecian, Alexander, are denoted by the leopard; the grasping, crushing tyranny of the Persians on their conquered provinces (on Judah perhaps excepted) is likened to the feet of a bear; while the terror inspired by the lion's roar, as also its ferocity in tearing to pieces its prey, are next spoken of. These characteristics of a bestial nature are here seen combined and embodied in the fourth Beast of Daniel 7:1-28, the revived Roman dominion.

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-13.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

It is very important that the reader take the time to read carefully the "general remarks" at the beginning of this book. He should note especially the information concerning the changes that took place in the Roman Empire due to its different state religions. A brief mention of them is all the space that can be used here, namely, Pagan Rome means the empire while its religion was the pagan or heathen. Papal Rome means when the state religion was the Papal or that under the pope. There is another item that should be stated in order to avoid confusion. The events that are described in the book of Revelation are not all given in the strict order of their occurrence. For instance, the present chapter opens with a vision of Pagan Rome which we know was before the days of Constantine. That means also that it was before the beginning of the Dark Ages of1260 years. Yet we have already had a vision of that period even down to and including the Reformation of Luther, which is shown in chapter11. This style of composition will be noticed in various places in this book, The vision will perhaps take the reader down the years through some important happenings, then go back many centuries and start all over again but with different symbols. The sea is a symbol of humanity because all governments are products of human formation. The beast that John saw in this verse is Pagan Rome. The seven heads are explained at Revelation 12:3, referring to the literal or geographical fact that the city of Rome is situated upon seven hills. There is little or no importance attached to that except as a means of identification as to what city may be meant in the writings of some prophet or historian. If any political significance has been attached to the seven hills it would not affect the general plan of the book of Revelation. I believe that the Lord was concerned only with the outstanding subject of His church in its relation to both Pagan and Papal Rome, hence I have restricted my general considerations to that line. Ten horns.

The Roman Empire was the fourth and last of the "four world empires" as they are familiarly termed. Its head was in the city of Rome and the emperor was the ultimate ruler of the entire government. However, the various nations were subdivided into smaller kingdoms with their own local administration under a king, whose authority was only one in name for he was subject to the head in the city of Rome. The ten horns symbolize the outstanding ones in the domain of the Empire. The names that I have are England, Germany, Italy, France, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Portugal and Spain. Name of blasphemy. All of these kings were under the control and influence of Pagan Rome which was in opposition to the authority of the Lord, hence their language would be that of blasphemy (evil speaking) against Him.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-13.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

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.

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-13.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1. The proposed name should be a true proper name, and not a mere descriptive phrase, or word, or title. Lateinos meets this condition, being a true proper name, whether as adjective or substantive. America, for instance, is a proper name of a whole country or territory. American is an adjective proper name, applicable to the country, the people, or the individual. So Latin is the proper name of the Roman State, or ruler, or citizen. Such words, on the contrary, as , apostate, , wicked guide, etc., are to be rejected as descriptive phrases, and not proper names. So Ewald’s Hebrew terms for Cesar of Rome are hardly one name, but two, or else a title and a name. And so Ferdinand Benary’s solution, in Hebrew, Nero Cesar, is a name and title, and is excluded. This excludes such descriptive phrases as The Latin Kingdom, Italic Church, etc.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-13.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 13:1. His ten horns first become visible. The prophet has shifted the diadems from the heads to the horns (thereby altering their number, of necessity), since he wishes to stamp the heads (i.e., the Roman emperors, cf. Sib. Or. iii. 176; Tac. Ann. xv. 47) with the blasphemous names. Hence the ten horns (successive monarchs in the Danielic oracle) are superfluous here, except as an archaic, pictorial detail in the sketch of this polycephalous brute. Such grotesque, composite monsters were familiar figures in Persian and Babylonian mythology. The blasphemous title of divus, assumed by the emperors since Octavian (Augustus = ) as a semi-sacred title, implied superhuman claims which shocked the pious feelings of Jews and Christians alike. So did and which, as the inscriptions prove, were freely applied to the emperors, from Augustus onwards. The imperial system, especially with its demand for imperial worship, appeared the embodiment of irreverence and profane infatuation (Revelation 13:6). This calm usurpation of divine honours was inexplicable except on the supposition (Revelation 13:2) that the empire was a tool or agent of the devil himself. Much had happened since Paul wrote Romans 13:1-6, and even since Asiatic Christians had received the counsel of 1 Peter 2:13 f.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-13.html. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

1. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. We learn from Revelation 17 that this beast is symbolic of anti-christian world powers [governments]. Ten horns: destructive power. Seven heads: universal authority and rule [in this world]. The crowned horns do not symbolize victory, but rather show that this “universal authority” has been arrogantly seized.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 13:1". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-13.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.