Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 13:15

And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Vision;   Scofield Reference Index - Antichrist;   The Topic Concordance - Empires/world Powers;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Apocalyptic literature;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Antichrist;   Order;   CARM Theological Dictionary - False prophet, (the);   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Divination;   Idol;   Miracles;   Zechariah, the Book of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Breath;   Emperor Worship;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Acts of the Apostles;   Antichrist;   Forehead;   Thessalonians, Second Epistle to the;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Antichrist ;   Beast;   Eschatology;   Hour (Figurative);   King of Kings and Lord of Lords;   Lord;   Martyr;   Peter Epistles of;   Power Powers;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Abomination of Desolation;   Antichrist;   Prophets, the;   Revelation, the;   Roman Empire;   Thessalonians, Epistles to the;   13 To Worship, Serve;   23 Life Living;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Antichrist;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Antichrist;   Revelation of John:;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed - I would just observe that the Brahmins, by repeating incantations, profess to give eyes and a soul to an image recently made, before it is worshipped; afterwards, being supposed to be the residence of the god or goddess it represents, it has a legal right to worship. On this verse the learned bishop observes: "The influence of the two-horned beast, or corrupted clergy, is farther seen in persuading and inducing mankind to make an image to the beast which had the wound by a sword, and did live. This image and representative of the beast is the pope. He is properly the idol of the Church. He represents in himself the whole power of the beast, and is the head of all authority, temporal as well as spiritual. He is nothing more than a private person, without power and without authority, till the two-horned beast or corrupted clergy, by choosing him pope, give life unto him, and enable him to speak and utter his decrees, and to persecute even to death as many as refuse to submit to him and to worship him. As soon as he is chosen pope he is clothed with the pontifical robes, and crowned and placed upon the altar, and the cardinals come and kiss his feet, which ceremony is called adoration. They first elect and then they worship him, as in the medals of Martin V., where two are represented crowning the pope, and two kneeling before him, with this inscription, Quem creant adorant; 'Whom they create they adore.' He is The Principle of Unity to the Ten Kingdoms of the Beast, and causeth, as far as he is able, all who will not acknowledge his supremacy to be put to death." The great ascendency which the popes have obtained over the kings of the Latin world by means of the Romish hierarchy is sufficiently marked in the history of Europe. As long as the great body of the people were devoted to the Roman Catholic idolatry, it was in vain for the kings of the different Roman Catholic countries to oppose the increasing usurpations of the popes. They ascended, in spite of all opposition, to the highest pinnacle of human greatness; for even the authority of the emperors themselves was established or annulled at their pleasure. The high sounding tone of the popes commenced in Gregory VII., a.d. 1073, commonly known by the name of Hildebrand, who aimed at nothing less than universal empire. He published an anathema against all who received the investiture of a bishopric or abbacy from the hands of a layman, as also against those by whom the investiture should be performed. This measure being opposed by Henry IV., emperor of Germany, the pope deposed him from all power and dignity, regal or imperial. See Corps Diplomatique, tom. i. p. 53. Great numbers of German princes siding with the pope, the emperor found himself under the necessity of going, (in January, 1077), to the bishop of Rome to implore his forgiveness, which was not granted him till he had fasted three days, standing from morning to evening barefooted, and exposed to the inclemency of the weather! In the following century the power of the pope was still farther increased; for on the 23d of September, 1122, the Emperor Henry V. gave up all right of conferring the regalia by the ceremony of the ring and crosier, so that the chapters and communities should be at liberty to fill up their own vacancies. In this century the election of the Roman pontiffs was confined by Alexander III. to the college of cardinals. In the thirteenth century the popes (Dr. Mosheim observes) "inculcated that pernicious maxim, that the bishop of Rome is the supreme lord of the universe, and that neither princes nor bishops, civil governors nor ecclesiastical rulers, have any lawful power in Church or state but what they derive from him. To establish their authority both in civil and ecclesiastical matters upon the firmest foundation, they assumed to themselves the power of disposing of the various offices of the Church, whether of a higher or more subordinate nature, and of creating bishops, abbots, and canons, according to their fancy. The first of the pontiffs who usurped such an extravagant extent of authority was Innocent III., (a.d. 1198-1216), whose example was followed by Honorius III., (a.d. 1216), Gregory IX., (a.d. 1227), and several of their successors." Thus the plenitude of the papal power (as it is termed) was not confined to what was spiritual; the Romish bishops "dethroned monarchs, disposed of crowns, absolved subjects from the obedience due to their sovereigns, and laid kingdoms under interdicts. There was not a state in Europe which had not been disquieted by their ambition. There was not a throne which they had not shaken, nor a prince who did not tremble at their presence." The point of time in which the Romish bishops attained their highest elevation of authority was about the commencement of the fourteenth century. Boniface VIII., who was pope at this time, outstripped all his predecessors in the high sounding tone of his public decrees. According to his famous bull Unam Sanctam, published Nov. 16, 1302, "the secular power is but a simple emanation from the ecclesiastical; and the double power of the pope, founded upon Holy Scripture, is even an article of faith. God," said he, "has confided to Saint Peter, and to his successors, two swords, the one spiritual, the other temporal. The first ought to be exercised by the Church itself; and the other, by secular powers for the service of the Church, and according to the will of the pope. The latter, that is to say, the temporal sword, is in subjection to the former, and the temporal authority depends indispensably on the spiritual power which judges it, white God alone can judge the spiritual power. Finally," he adds, "it is necessary to salvation for every human creature to be in subjection to the Roman pontiff." The false prophet Said "to them that dwell upon the earth, that they should make an image to the beast that had the wound by a sword, and did live;" that is, the Romish priesthood Preached Up the pope's supremacy over temporal princes; and, through their astonishing influence on the minds of the people, the bishop of Rome at last became the supreme sovereign of the secular Latin empire, and thus was at the head of all authority, temporal and spiritual.

The papists have in their various superstitions professed to worship God. But they are said, in the unerring words of prophecy, to worship the dragon, beast, and image of the beast, and to blaspheme God; for they received as holy those commandments of men that stand in direct opposition to the sacred Scriptures, and which have been imposed on them by the Romish bishops, aided by the secular powers. "God is a Spirit, and they who worship him must worship him in Spirit and in Truth."

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-13.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast - That is, that image of the beast would be naturally powerless, or would have no life in itself. The second beast, however, had power to impart life to it, so that it would be invested with authority, and would exercise that authority in the manner specified. If this refers, as is supposed, to the Roman civil power - the power of the empire restored - it would find a fulfillment in some act of the papacy by which the empire that resembled in the extent of its jurisdiction, and in its general character, the former Roman empire, received some vivifying impulse, or was invested with new power. That is, it would have power conferred on it through the papacy which it would not have in itself, and which would confirm its jurisdiction. How far events actually occurred corresponding with this, will be considered in the notes at the close of this verse.

That the image of the beast should both speak - Should give signs of life; should issue authoritative commands. The speaking here referred to pertains to what is immediately specified, in issuing a command that they who “would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”

And cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast - Would not honor it, or acknowledge its authority. The “worship” here referred to is civil, not religious homage. See the notes on Revelation 13:4. The meaning is, that what is here called the “image of the beast” had power given it, by its connection with the second “beast,” to set up its jurisdiction over people, and to secure their allegiance on pain of death. The power by which this was done was derived from the second beast; the obedience and homage demanded was of the most entire and submissive character; the nature of the government was in a high degree arbitrary; and the penalty enforced for refusing this homage was death. The facts that we are to look for in the fulfillment of this are:

(1)that the Roman imperial power was about to expire - as if wounded to death by the sword;

(2)that this was revived in the form of what is here called the “image of the beast” - that is, in a form closely resembling the former power;

(3)that this was done by the agency of the papal power, represented by the second beast;

(4)that the effect of this was to set up over people a wide-extended secular jurisdiction, of a most arbitrary and absolute kind, where the penalty of disobedience to its laws was death, and where the infliction of this was, in fact, to be traced to the influence of the second beast - that is, the papal spiritual power.

The question now is, whether facts occurred that corresponded with this emblematic representation. Now, as to the leading fact, the decline of the Roman imperial power - the fatal wound inflicted on that by the “sword” - there can be no doubt. In the time of “Augustulus,” as above stated, it had become practically extinct - “wounded as it were to death,” and so wounded that it would never have been revived again had it not been for some foreign influence. It is true also, that, when the papacy arose, the necessity was felt of allying itself with some wide extended civil or secular dominion, that might be under its own control, and that would maintain its spiritual authority. It is true, also, that the empire was revived - the very “image” or copy, so far as it could be, of the former Roman power, in the time of Charlemagne, and that the power which was wielded in what was called the “empire,” was what was, in a great measure, derived from the papacy, and was designed to sustain the papacy, and was actually employed for that purpose. These are the main facts, I suppose, which are here referred to, and a few extracts from Mr. Gibbon will show with what propriety and accuracy the symbols here employed were used, on the supposition that this was the designed reference:

(a) The rise, or restoration of this imperial power in the time and the person of Charlemagne. Mr. Gibbon says (3:342), “It was after the Nicene synod, and under the reign of the pious Irene, that the popes consummated the separation of Rome and Italy (from the Eastern empire) by the translation of the empire to the less orthodox Charlemagne. They were compelled to choose between the rival nations; religion was not the sole motive of their choice; and while they dissembled the failings of their friends, they beheld with reluctance and suspicion the Catholic virtues of their foes. The difference of language and manners had perpetuated the enmity of the two capitals (Rome and Constantinople); and they were alienated from each other by the hostile opposition of seventy years. In that schism the Romans had tasted of freedom, and the popes of sovereignty; their submission would have exposed them to the revenge of a jealous tyrant, and the revolution of Italy had betrayed the impotence as well as the tyranny of the Byzantine court.”

Mr. Gibbon then proceeds to state reasons why Charlemagne was selected as the one who was to be placed at the head of the revived imperial power, and then adds (p. 343), “The title of patrician was below the merit and greatness of Charlemagne; and it was only by reviving the “Western empire” that they could pay their obligations, or secure their establishment. By this decisive measure they would finally eradicate the claims of the Greeks; from the debasement of a provincial town the majesty of Rome would be restored; the Latin Christians would be united, under a supreme head, in their ancient metropolis; “and the conquerors of the West would receive their crown from the successors of Peter. The Roman church would acquire a zealous and respectable advocate”; and under the shadow of the Carlovingian power, the bishop might exercise, with honor and safety, the government of the city.” All this seems as if it were a designed commentary on such expressions as these: “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed,” “saying to them that dwell on the earth that they should make an image to the beast which had the wound by a sword, and did live; and he had power to give life unto the image of the beast,” etc.

(b) Its extent. It is said Revelation 13:12, “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” Compare Revelation 13:14-15. That is, the extent of the jurisdiction of the revived power, or the restored empire, would be as great as it was before the wound was inflicted. Of the extent of the restored empire under Charlemagne, Mr. Gibbon has given a full account, iii. pp. 546-549. The passage is too long to be copied here in full, and a summary of it only can be given. He says, “The empire was not unworthy of its title; and some of the fairest kingdoms of Europe were the patrimony or conquest of a prince who reigned at the same time in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Hungary.

I. The Roman province of Gaul had been transformed into the name and monarchy of France, etc.

II. The Saracens had been expelled from France by the grandfather and father of Charlemagne, but they still possessed the greatest part of Spain, from the rock of Gibraltar to the Pyrenees. Amidst their civil divisions, an Arabian emir of Saragossa implored his protection in the diet of Paderborn. Charlemagne undertook the expedition, restored the emir, and, without distinction of faith, impartially crushed the resistance of the Christians, and rewarded the obedience and service of the Muslims. In his absence he instituted the Spanish March, which extended from the Pyrenees to the river Ebro: Barcelona was the residence of the French governor; he possessed the counties of Rousillon and Catalonia; and the infant kingdoms of Navarre and Aragon were subject to his jurisdiction.

III. As king of the Lombards, and patrician of Rome, he reigned over the greatest part of Italy, a tract of a thousand miles from the Alps to the borders of Calabria, etc.

IV. Charlemagne was the first who united Germany under the same scepter, etc.

V. He retaliated on the Avars, or Huns of Pannonia, the same calamities which they had inflicted on the nations: the royal residence of the Chagan was left desolate and unknown; and the treasures, the rapine of two hundred and fifty years, enriched the victorious troops, or decorated the churches of Italy and Gaul.” “If we retrace the outlines of the geographical picture,” continues Mr. Gibbon, “it will be seen that the empire of the Franks extended, between east and west, from the Ebro to the Elbe or Vistula; between the north and south, from the duchy of Beneventum to the river Eyder, the perpetual boundary of Germany and Denmark. Two-thirds of the Western empire of Rome were subject to Charlemagne, and the deficiency was amply supplied by his command of the inaccessible or invincible nations of Germany.”

(c) The dependence of this civil or revived secular power on the papacy. “His deadly wound was healed.” “And caused the earth to worship the first beast.” “Saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast.” “He had power to give life unto the image of the beast.” Thus Mr. Gibbon (3:343) says, “From the debasement of a provincial town, the majesty of Rome would be restored; the Latin Christians would be united, under a supreme head, in their ancient metropolis; and the conquerors of the West would receive their crown from the successors of Peter.” And again (3:344) he says, “On the festival of Christmas, the last year of the eighth century, Charlemagne appeared in the church of Peter; and, to gratify the vanity of Rome, he had exchanged the simple dress of his country for the habit of a patrician. After the celebration of the holy mysteries, Leo suddenly placed a precious crown on his head, and the dome resounded with the acclamations of the people, ‹Long life and victory to Charles, the most pious Augustus, crowned by God the great and pacific emperor of the Romans!‘ The head and body of Charlemagne were consecrated by the royal unction; his coronation oath represents a promise to maintain the faith and privileges of the church; and the first-fruits are paid in rich offerings to the shrine of the apostle. In his familiar conversation the emperor protested his ignorance of the intentions of Leo, which he would have disappointed by his absence on that memorable day.

But the preparations of the ceremony must have disclosed the secret; and the journey of Charlemagne reveals his knowledge and expectation; he had acknowledged that the imperial title was the object of his ambition, and a Roman senate had pronounced that it was the only adequate reward of his merit and services.” So again (3:350), Mr. Gibbon, speaking of the conquests of Otho (962 a.d.), and of his victorious march over the Alps, and his subjugation of Italy, says, “From that memorable era, two maxims of public jurisprudence were introduced by force and ratified by time:

I. That the prince who was elected in the German diet, acquired from that instant the subject kingdoms of Italy and Rome.

II. But that he might not legally assume the titles of emperor and Augustus, until he had received the crown from the hands of the Roman Pontiff.” In connection with these quotations from Mr. Gibbon, we may add, from Sigonius, the oath which the emperor took on the occasion of his coronation: “I, the Emperor, do engage and promise, in the name of Christ, before God and the blessed apostle Peter, that I will be a protector and defender of this holy church of Rome, in all things wherein I can be useful to it, so far as divine assistance shall enable me, and so far as my knowledge and power can reach” (quoted by Prof. Bush, Hieroph. Nov. 1842, p. 141). We learn, also, from the biographers of Charlemagne that a commemorative coin was struck at Rome under his reign, bearing this inscription: “Renovatio Imperil Romani” - “Revival of the Roman Empire” (Ibid.). These quotations, whose authority will not be questioned, and whose authors will not be suspected of having had any design to illustrate these passages in the Apocalypse, will serve to confirm what is said in the notes of the decline and restoration of the Roman secular power; of its dependence on the papacy to give it life and vigor; and of the fact that it was designed to sustain the papacy, and to perpetuate the power of Rome. It needs only to be added, that down to the time of Charles the Fifth - the period of the Reformation-nothing was more remarkable in history than the readiness of this restored secular power to sustain the papacy and to carry out its designs; or than the readiness of the papacy to sustain an absolute civil despotism, and to make the world subject to it by suppressing all attempts in favor of civil liberty.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-13.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And it was given unto him to give breath to it, even to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as should not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

And it was given to him to give breath to it ... Yes indeed! That little thumbnail image of a worldwide empire is very much alive, and it carries an incredible clout with every national government on earth, even our own. This is not a reference to some clown of a pagan priest pulling some kind of a shenanigan to make a crass literal statue utter a few words. No! The deception in view in this passage deceived the whole world.

The image should speak ... First, there was the relevance of this for John's generation. The pagan temples were full of idols that, by various ingenious devices were made to speak, the purpose of the perpetrators of such deceptions being that of compelling Christians to worship the image of Caesar; and all of the scholars stress this; but that is certainly not all that this passage means. If so, Revelation, in large part, is irrelevant to this age, a proposition which we cannot accept. What is the "speaking image" today? Tune in any of the papal encyclicals broadcast on world radio and TV regarding economics, politics, morals, etc. But this "image," the little copy of the big state, is itself worshipped.

As many as should not worship the image should be killed ... The first application of this was the sentence of death executed upon Christians who would not worship Caesar's image; but the relevance of this did not perish with the Edict of Theodosius banning paganism. The relevance of it to the martyrs of the Middle Ages was that the persons who would not bow before the rules of the papacy were put to death, a fact well attested by the long bloody record of the Medieval Church which slaughtered thousands who would not worship them and their little image of the beast, with its "Throne of St. Peter," and its universal apparatus culminating in the Spanish Inquisition and a hundred other horrors. That is all prophesied in this verse whether some scholars are able to see it or not!

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "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 he had power to give life unto the image of the

beast,.... Or "breath"; he breathed into it, and animated it; he gave this new religion a sanction, he confirmed and established it, and obliged all in his dominions to embrace and acknowledge it; and this he did by his decrees and canons, and those that refused were delivered over to the secular power, which he also exercised under another consideration:

that the image of the beast should both speak: so that it was not like Nebuchadnezzar's golden image that he set up, which required another to speak for it and demand adoration to it; and should seem to be preferable to the dumb idols of the Gentiles, which have mouths, but speak not; and may be understood either of the images of the virgin Mary, and other saints, which it is pretended, and the people are made to believe, that they do at times actually speak, and really weep and laugh, as it may serve their different purposes; or this image may be said to speak by the decrees, canons, anathemas, curses, threatenings, persuasions, doctrines, and blasphemies of the pope and his clergy; so that this image is like both the first and second beast; it has a mouth speaking blasphemies, as the first, and it speaks like a dragon, as the second;

and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed: which, according to the generality of copies, refers to the image itself, that that has a power from the beast as to speak, so to put to death those that refuse to worship it; but the Complutensian edition reads και ποιει, "and causes": that is, the beast causes, or orders all those that will not worship the image, to be killed; that is, that as many as will not embrace and profess the Popish religion shall be put to death; and these are the known orders and decrees of the Papacy, which have been executed by the Inquisition, and other hands, in innumerable instances; the blood of all the saints and prophets is found in Rome Papal, and will be avenged; these are the martyrs of Jesus, with whose blood the whore on the scarlet coloured beast has been made drunk; and this sense is confirmed by the eastern versions.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-13.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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

(22) The papists books are full of these miracles of the images of the beast, (that is, which the beast ordained to establish idolatry) which miraculously speak, and give judgment, or rather astonishingly, by the fraud of the false prophets.

(a) To give life, as Jannes and Jambres imitated the miracles that Moses did.

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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-13.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

he had powerGreek, “it was given to him.”

to give lifeGreek, “breath,” or “spirit.”

image — Nebuchadnezzar set up in Dura a golden image to be worshipped, probably of himself; for his dream had been interpreted, “Thou art this head of gold”; the three Hebrews who refused to worship the image were east into a burning furnace. All this typifies the last apostasy. Pliny, in his letter to Trajan, states that he consigned to punishment those Christians who would not worship the emperor‘s image with incense and wine. So Julian, the apostate, set up his own image with the idols of the heathen gods in the Forum, that the Christians in doing reverence to it, might seem to worship the idols. So Charlemagne‘s image was set up for homage; and the Pope adored the new emperor [Dupin, vol. 6, p. 126]. Napoleon, the successor of Charlemagne, designed after he had first lowered the Pope by removing him to Fontainebleau, then to “make an idol of him” [Memorial de Sainte Helene]; keeping the Pope near him, he would, through the Pope‘s influence, have directed the religious, as well as the political world. The revived Napoleonic dynasty may, in some one representative, realize the project, becoming the beast supported by the false prophet (perhaps some openly infidel supplanter of the papacy, under a spiritual guise, after the harlot, or apostate Church, who is distinct from the second beast, has been stripped and judged by the beast, Revelation 17:16); he then might have an image set up in his honor as a test of secular and spiritual allegiance.

speak — “False doctrine will give a spiritual, philosophical appearance to the foolish apotheosis of the creaturely personified by Antichrist” [Auberlen]. Jerome, on Daniel 7:1-28, says, Antichrist shall be “one of the human race in whom the whole of Satan shall dwell bodily.” Rome‘s speaking images and winking pictures of the Virgin Mary and the saints are an earnest of the future demoniacal miracles of the false prophet in making the beast‘s or Antichrist‘s image to speak.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "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

To give breath to it (δουναι πνευμα αυτηιdounai pneuma autēi). This second beast, probably a system like the first (not a mere person), was endowed with the power to work magical tricks, as was true of Simon Magus and Apollonius of Tyana and many workers of legerdemain since. ΠνευμαPneuma here has its original meaning of breath or wind like πνευμα ζωηςpneuma zōēs (breath of life) in Revelation 11:11.

Even to the image (τηι εικονιtēi eikoni). No “even” in the Greek, just apposition with αυτηιautēi (her).

That should both speak and cause (ινα και λαλησηι και ποιησηιhina kai lalēsēi kai poiēsēi). Final clause with ιναhina and the first aorist active subjunctive of λαλεωlaleō and ποιεωpoieō Ventriloquism like that in Acts 16:16.

That should be killed (ινα αποκταντωσινhina apoktanthōsin). Sub-final clause with ιναhina and the first aorist passive subjunctive of αποκτεινωapokteinō after ποιησηιpoiēsēi as in Revelation 13:12 (future indicative).

As many as should not worship (οσοι εαν μη προσκυνησωσινhosoi ean mē proskunēsōsin). Indefinite relative clause with modal εανean (= ανan) and the first aorist active subjunctive of προσκυνεωproskuneō with the accusative την εικοναtēn eikona (some MSS. the dative). Note the triple use of “the image of the beast” in this sentence. “That refusal to worship the image of the emperor carried with it capital punishment in Trajan‘s time is clear from Pliny‘s letter to Trajan (X. 96)” (Charles).

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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)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "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

Speak

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

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "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.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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

Ver. 15. Should be killed] What slaughters Charles V made at Magdeburg and elsewhere by the pope’s appointment, and what bloody work hath been done in Germany now for this twenty-eight years, or thereabouts, by the now emperor and his father, against the Protestant party, I need not here to relate.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-13.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

St. John proceeds here to give a farther character and description of the beast, which he had begun to describe, Revelation 13:11.

And, 1. His bloody cruelty is set forth, Revelation 13:15. He causeth them to be killed that would not worship the image of the beast.

Where mark, It is not said that he killed them himself, nor challenging directly the power of life and death to himself; but he causeth them to be killed, namely, by the secular power, by the kings and princes, who are the horns of the beast, and who give their power and strength to the beast, and war against the Lamb.

Again, 2. After his cruelty follows his compulsion; he causes all sorts of men, high and low, bond and free, to receive a mark in their right hand, and in their forehead, in allusion to an ancient custom, which was to mark servants and soldiers on the arm by which it was known what master or captain they belonged to; in like manner the beast here is said to have a mark for those that are his, which mark seems probably to have been an open owning of him, an active engagement for him, a professed subjection to him.

3. The beast here is said to interdict and forbid all trade and commerce with those that had not his mark, Revelation 13:17. He causeth that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark of the beast. Several bulls and decrees have been sent forth from Rome, commanding that no traffic or commerce be had with any heretic in buying or selling, but only with those that profess themselves members of the Romish church.

4. It is added, that the Number of the beast is six hundred sixty-six, that is, that the numeral letters of a certain word or name, being computed, should amount to that number. I shall close this chapter with the words of a great man, Archbishop Tillotson, on Revelation 14:13. "Unto whom all the fore-mentioned characters of the beast do agree, and especially the number of his name, I shall not presume to conjecture, much less positively to determine, because it is said to require a particular wisdom and understanding to find it out: Here is wisdom, let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast. However, the event will discover it."

And again, on Luke 9:55 he thus speaks; "It is believed by many and not without cause, that the Pope and his faction are the antichristian beast; I will say no more than I know in this matter: I am not certain that is is he that is particularly designed in scripture by the name; but however that be, I challenge antichrist himself, whoever he is, and whenever he comes, to do worse and wickeder things than he has done: verily it almost looks uncharitably barely to relate what these men have not blushed to act."

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". 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

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

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

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

κ. ποιήσῃ ἱνα

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

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". 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 13:15. ἵνα λαλήσῃ εἰκὼν τοῦ θηρίου) that the image of the beast should speak. “That images should speak, is a wonderful thing, and yet not incredible. You find it mentioned in Roman stories, and in Valerius Maximus, respecting the images of Juno Moneta, of Fortuna Mulielnis, and of Silvanus. And Moses Maimonides, in Part iii. ch. 24 of the Guide of those in doubt, says, that two books have been read by himself respecting Images which spake.”—Grotius on this passage. Add the things which Peter Crugotius and Nic. Mulerius cite on this passage also. The things which Freinshemius has collected on Florus, who treats, Book ii. c. 8, respecting the sweat of Apollo of Cumæ, are not dissimilar. “All these things were so customary two or three centuries ago, in the case of images belonging to our country, that they wept, laughed, and even SPOKE and walked, almost oftener than men; and performed other actions, which the men of our time can scarcely believe.”— ἵνα ἀποκτανθῶσι, that they should be killed) Rupertus says with weight on this passage: “Christ did not do this; nor have His prophets nor apostles taught, nor have kings now become Christian understood this, that they should kill, and think that the service of Christ is to be advanced by bloodshed. For the true God does not wish compulsory, but willing service. Therefore also in this, nay, even especially in this, he will show to those who have understanding, and who are strong in reason, that he is in truth Antichrist, that he is in truth not Christ; but that, in accordance with his name, he is opposed to Christ. It is Christ who shed His own blood. It is Antichrist who shed the blood of others.” After the Reformation, illustrious interpreters from time to time laid it down that a most violent persecution was even then impending from the beast: as Phil. Nicolai, Book ii. concerning the kingdom of Christ, p. 305; Hoe on Ap. XI., num. 78; Doelingius de Antichr. p. 298, and everywhere. Add Matthew Hofmann’s Chronology Apoc. p. 116.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". 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

The beast, mentioned Revelation 13:11, had power to give life unto this new formed idolatry, conformable to that of the pagans, in which the old beast again lived: he gave life to it by his decrees and bulls, and canon laws, and by his excommunications and censures of those that would not comply with his idolatry as heretics; after which the persons so adjudged were delivered up to the secular power to be put to death.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". 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

говорил Лжепророк придаст образу антихриста живую внешность, и будет казаться, что образ произносит слова, наперекор известной истине об идолах (ср. Пс. 134: 15, 16; Ав. 2:19).

действовалубиваем был всякий Его кротость – ложь, так как он убийца (7:9-17). Немногие язычники будут оставлены, чтобы населить царство (Мф. 25:31-40), а евреи будут защищены (12:17).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-13.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Speak; proclaim and send out his decrees, requiring all to bow to him; and if they will not, causing them to be put to death. Ecclesiastical and civil rulers have often been united in persecuting Christians, and endeavoring to force them to disobey God.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-13.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

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

Verse 15: The second beast created a life image of the superior beast, and exercised the power given to him to command its worship. In verse 14, it is stated that this was made possible by the prestige of the sea-beast from "the wound by a sword" but "did live"--that is, the display of the power of the empire in subduing in war the rebellious provinces, brought to the emperor an idolatrous worship, which the land-beast (the emperor's representative in Palestine) promoted, and in which he participated; and he commanded the Christians who would not worship the emperor to be banished or slain--which introduced the martyrdom of the saints.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "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

This verse may mean that the second beast will give life (Gr. pneuma, breath) to an inanimate object or that he will only appear to do so. In either case he will deceive many people ( Revelation 13:14).

"Belief in statues which spoke and performed miracles is widely attested in ancient literature." [Note: Mounce, p261. Cf. Charles, 1:361, and Beale, p711, for additional sources.]

The image will speak and will put to death those who do not worship the beast (cf. Daniel 3:11), possibly by issuing commands for executions. Evidently these events will all take place in Jerusalem and probably in the temple that will stand there at this time (cf. Revelation 11:1-2; 2 Thessalonians 2:4). We should not conclude that every last believer will die at this time (i.e, during the Great Tribulation; cf. Revelation 12:13-16; Revelation 13:17-18; Matthew 25:31-46).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "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 13:15. In the words of this verse the second beast is still further characterized as giving breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as should not worship the image of the beast should be killed. These words are commonly understood to refer to the lying wonders of pagan priests in making pictures and statues appear to speak; to which many add ‘the moving images and winking and speaking pictures so often employed for purposes of imposture by their far less excusable papal successors.’ But such pictures and images, however they might seem to move and speak, were never able to put to death. It seems better, therefore, to think first it may be of the persons in whom civil power was centred, of the possessors of the world power, of kings or emperors in any land, but especially in Rome, who demanded that Divine honours should be paid them, and who persecuted to the death such as refused the homage. These may be first thought of, but after them come all who, having any worldly power, are persuaded to use it against the saints of God. To them the second beast gives ‘breath,’ making them bring it about that they who worship not the image of the first beast, and are not to the incarnate spirit of the world what believers are to their Lord, ‘should be killed.’

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-13.html. 1879-90.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

Without the priests, there would have been no life in Emperor worship. They caused it to be carried out the world over and put to death those who refused to comply.

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-13.html. 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

he had power = it was given him.

life. Greek. pneuma. App-101.

that = in order that. Greek. hina.

speak. App-121.

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

He had power - `it was given to him.'

To give life - `breath,' 'spirit.'

Image. Nebuchadnezzar set up in Dura a golden image to be worshipped, probably of himself; for his dream had been interpreted, "Thou art this bead of gold." The three Hebrews who refused to worship it were cast into a burning furnace. Typifying the last apostasy. Pliny, in his letter to Trajan, states that he punished Christians who would not worship the emperor's image with incense. So Julian, the apostate, set up his image with idols in the Forum, that the Christians, in doing reverence to it, might seem to worship the idols. So Charlemagne's image was set up; and the Pope adored the new emperor (Dupin, vol. 6:, p. 126). Napoleon, Charlemagne's successor, designed, after he had first lowered the Pope by removing him to Fontainbleau, then to 'make an idol of him' (Memorial de Saints Helene): he would, through the Pope's influence, have directed the religious as well as the political world. Antichrist will realize the project, becoming the beast supported by the false prophet (some infidel supplanter of the papacy, under a spiritual guise, after the harlot, or apostate church, has been judged by the beast, Revelation 17:16); he then might have his image set up as a test of secular and spiritual allegiance.

Speak. 'False doctrine will give a spiritual appearance to the foolish apotheosis of the creaturely personified by Antichrist' (Auberlen). Jerome, on Daniel 7:1-28, says, Antichrist shall be 'a man in whom the whole of Satan shall dwell bodily.' Rome's speaking images, and winking pictures of the Virgin Mary, are an earnest of the demoniacal miracles of the false prophet in making the beast's image to speak.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "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

(15) And he had power . . .—Better, And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the wild beast, that the image of the wild beast should both speak, and cause that as many as do not worship the image of the wild beast shall be slain. The image to the wild beast is an image also of the wild beast: and the image of the monster is endued with apparent vitality. Wisdom can give a semblance of life to the most doomed cause; and the bulk of mankind read only with their eyes, and not at all with their thoughts. The image of the Roman emperor was, in ancient days, made an object of worship. Christians suffered rather than by such an act of worship prove disloyal to Christ: like their spiritual ancestors, they refused to worship the image which the world-power had set up; they were willing to render to Cæsar the things that were Cæsar’s, but the homage which belonged to God they refused to any but their God. These are but types of those who have refused, though tempted by specious eloquence and sagacious subtlety, to offer homage to any mere world-power; for the golden image is ever set up upon the plains of this world: its glitter and its vitality survive the storm and the conflict of the ages: it speaks, and men hear and adore, for they walk by sight, not by faith; and it needs no imperial or papal edict to doom to social death and failure those who refuse to shape their conduct by considerations of self-interest, and who are sure to be treated as fanatics because they follow right and conscience and Christ.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
life
Gr. breath.
Genesis 2:7; Psalms 135:17; Jeremiah 10:14; 51:17; Habakkuk 2:19; James 2:26; *Gr:
speak
Psalms 115:5; 135:16; Jeremiah 10:5
cause
14; 16:2,5; 17:6,14,17; 18:20,24; 19:20; 20:4; Daniel 7:20,25
Reciprocal: Exodus 20:4 - GeneralLeviticus 26:1 - Ye shall;  2 Chronicles 21:11 - compelled;  Psalm 94:20 - frameth;  Isaiah 14:4 - How;  Ezekiel 22:25 - like;  Daniel 3:6 - falleth;  Luke 12:45 - to beat;  2 Timothy 3:3 - fierce;  1 John 5:21 - keep;  Revelation 2:10 - the devil;  Revelation 6:11 - until;  Revelation 9:21 - their murders;  Revelation 13:4 - and they;  Revelation 13:8 - all;  Revelation 14:8 - wrath;  Revelation 16:6 - they have

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-13.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

IMAGE OF THE BEAST WORSHIPPED UNDER PAIN OF DEATH.

Revelation 13:15. — "It was given to him to give breath (not life) to the image of the Beast." The Antichrist has no power in himself. He could not of himself energise the image or give it a real or even spurious vitality. The power behind is Satan. It is he who acts through the beasts. It is breath that is given, not life, for this latter God ever keeps in His own hand. It is an image "to the Beast," that is, to his glorification; but it is also an image "of the Beast," that is, it represents him, calls the attention of the world to him, and keeps the thought of the Beast before the eyes and minds of men. Hengstenberg remarks, "It is not images that are spoken of, but an image. But in regard to the sense a multitude of images is meant." Whether the image here spoken of is to be multiplied and scattered throughout the length and breadth of Christendom is a point on which we cannot pronounce with certainty. The object, however, whether the image is one or many, is to bring the world down to the feet of the Beast in worship. The image is made to speak. What it says shall only be known to those who hear it. Death is the appointed portion of those who refuse divine honours to the Beast, or to its distinguished chief, "the prince (Roman) that shall come" (Daniel 9:26). Thus by signs and wonders of a miraculous kind, wrought by the second Beast, he deceives the guilty and apostate Christian mass, so that not only is all true conception of Christianity lost, but idolatry of the rankest character is openly and unblushingly practised. What a future lies before these lands!

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "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

The image of the beast is something that is a figure or is like it. The predominating characteristic of Pagan Rome with regard to her treatment of Christianity, was her‘ persecution of the disciples and even to the extent of slaying the true worshipers of God. Therefore any person or group of persons that imitated that character would havethe support of Papal Rome, and in that sense would receive life therefrom-The closing words of this verse verify the above statement by saying that those who would not worship (pay homage to and show respect) should be killed.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". 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 13:15

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

And he had power;

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

To give life unto the image of the beast;

that Isaiah, reviving spirit and life,

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

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

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

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

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-13.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

15.Life unto the image—He was not to be a dead statue, like an image of an emperor; he should speak; and he, the image, should cause the refusers of worship to be killed.

Worship the image—To the pope the attributes of the Deity are ascribed, the name God is given, and the worship, due to God, is offered the papal theocracy. See note on 2 Thessalonians 2:7. The Canon also declared, “It is certain that the pope was styled God by Constantine, and it is manifest that God cannot be judged by men.” And so Pope Urban II. maintained that he was judge of all men, but that he could be judged by no man, and he was acquitted of an accusation on that ground. And, under Pope Symmachus, at the beginning of the sixth century, it was declared that the pope was judge in the place of God, and could himself be judged by none. He was above all human jurisdiction. And, at the fifth Lateran Council, the orator announced, with all acceptance, “Thou art finally a second God on earth.” See our notes on2 Thessalonians 2:4-10.

Killed—No domination ever existed on earth so bloody and so cruel, in every form of infliction, as the popedom, from its first establishment to the present hour. Religious wars waged by its instigation, massacres and exterminations, inquisitions and dragonades, tortures by rack and by burning, form the staple of the history. The Spanish inquisition, the massacre of St. Bartholomew, the Smithfield fagots, are exploits of this infernal image. Every country in western Europe is stained by this antichrist with blood. It has ruined South America. In our Protestant North America its devotees are numerous and menacing, but impotent as yet.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-13.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 13:15. The statue is made to speak, in order to work on the credulity and awe of the worshippers. The trick was well within the reach of contemporary magic (cf. Valer. Maxim, i. 8. 3–5), and later tradition attributed it to Simon Magus (Clem. Recogn. iii. 47, cf. Clem. Hom. ii. 32), while similar ventriloquism was practised by Apollonius of Tyana and Egyptian sorcerers at Caligula’s court. cf. Lucian’s (Alex. 26).— , cf. the scutcheon of Captain Pope in Bunyan’s Holy War—“the stake, the flame, and the good man in it”.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 13:15". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-13.html. 1897-1910.