Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 13:4

they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?"
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Demons;   Vision;   Scofield Reference Index - Beast (the);   Thompson Chain Reference - Demons;   Devil;   False;   Idolatry;   Images;   Satan;   Worship;   Worship, False;   Worship, True and False;   The Topic Concordance - Empires/world Powers;   Name;   War/weapons;   Worship;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - War;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Apocalyptic literature;   Worship;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Antichrist;   Order;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Lucifer;   Michael;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Beast;   Emperor Worship;   Gentiles;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Antichrist;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Antichrist ;   Apocalypse;   Ascension of Isaiah;   Authority;   Beast;   Blasphemy ;   Devil ;   Dragon ;   Serpent ;   Sin (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Dragon,;   Lucifer ;   Prophets, the;   Roman Empire;   Trinity;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Antichrist;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Authority in Religion;   Revelation of John:;  
Devotionals:
Today's Word from Skip Moen - Devotion for September 11;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And they worshipped the dragon - Worshipping the dragon here evidently means the voluntary religious subjection of the members of the Latin Church to the revived western empire, because of the eminent part it has taken in the support of their faith.

And they worshipped the beast - Not only the dragon or revived western empire was worshipped; the beast, the whole Latin empire, is a partaker in the adoration. The manner in which it is worshipped consists in the subjects of it: -

Saying, Who is like unto the beast? - Is it not the only holy power in the universe? Is it possible for any person not a subject of it to be saved?

Who is able to make war with him? - Can any nation successfully fight with it? Is not the Roman empire, which is its principal bulwark, invictissimum, most invincible? Invictissimus, most invincible, was the peculiar attribute of the emperors of Germany. See modern Universal History, vol. xxxii., p. 197.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-13.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast - See the notes at Revelation 12:3; Revelation 13:2. That is, they in fact worshipped him. The word “worship” - προσκυνέω proskuneō- is not always, however, used in a religious sense. It means, properly, “to kiss”; to kiss toward anyone; that is, to kiss his own hand and to extend it toward a person, in token of respect and homage (Robinson, Lexicon). Compare Job 31:27. Then it means to show respect to one who is our superior; to kings and princes; to parents; and pre-eminently to God. See the notes on Matthew 2:2. The word may be used here to mean that homage or reverence, as to a higher power, was rendered to the “dragon”; not strictly that he was openly worshipped in a religious sense as God. Can anyone doubt that this was the case under papal Rome; that the power which was set up under that entire domination, civil and ecclesiastical, was such as Satan approved, and such as he sought to have established on the earth? And can anyone doubt that the homage thus rendered, so contrary to the law of God, and so much in derogation of his claims, was in fact homage rendered to this presiding spirit of evil?

And they worshipped the beast - That is, they did it, as is immediately specified, by saying that he was “incomparable” and “invincible”; in other words, that he was superior to all others, and that he was almighty. For the fulfillment of this, see the notes on 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

Who is like unto the beast? - That is, he is to be regarded as unequalled and as supreme. This was, in fact, ascribing honors to him which belonged only to God; and this was the manner in which that civil and secular power was regarded in the period here supposed to be referred to. It was the policy of rulers and princes in those times to augment in every way possible the respect in which they were held; to maintain that they were the vicegerents of heaven; to claim for themselves sacredness of character and of person; and to secure from the people a degree of reverence which was in fact idolatrous. Never was this more marked than in the times when the papacy had the ascendency, for it was its policy to promote reverence for the power that sustained itself, and to secure for itself the idolatrous veneration of the people.

Who is able to make war with him? - That is, he is invincible. They thus attributed to him omnipotence - an attribute belonging only to God. This found a fulfillment in the honor shown to the civil authority which sustained the papacy; for the policy was to impress the public mind with the belief that that power was invincible. In fact, it was so regarded. Nothing was able to resist that absolute despotism; and the authority of princes and rulers that were allied with the papal rule was of the most absolute kind, and the subjugation of the world was complete. There was no civil, as there was no religious liberty; and the whole arrangement was so ordered as to subdue the world to an absolute and uncontrollable power.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-13.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

and they worshipped the dragon, because he gave his authority unto the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? and who is able to make war with him?

And they worshipped the dragon (Satan) ... Thus, it was no innocent thing to sprinkle a few grains of incense upon Caesar's altar. It was the same thing as worshipping the devil who was behind the entire operation. The fact of mankind's general acceptance of such worship was enforced, "not by the moral greatness of the beast, but by the awesome power of his might. The authority he wielded was that of Satan himself."[46]

ENDNOTE:

[46] Robert H. Mounce, op. cit., p. 254.

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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 13:4". "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 they worshipped the dragon,.... The devil, in the idols, images, angels, and saints departed, to whom they give adoration, as did the Gentiles, whose successors they are, and whose name they bear; see 1 Corinthians 10:20;

which gave power unto the beast, as in Revelation 13:2;

and they worshipped the beast; not only in a civil way, being subject to him as their temporal lord, to whom they give homage; obedience, and tribute, but in a religious way; for antichrist sits in the temple to be worshipped as God, showing himself that he is God, and receives adorations from his creatures, the cardinals, and others; but woe to them that worship this beast; see Revelation 14:9.

Saying, who is like unto the beast? using such expressions as are used of God himself, implying that there is none like him, Exodus 15:11, yea, they ascribe deity to him, calling him our Lord God the pope, God, and a God on earth; See Gill on 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

Who is able to make war with him? And indeed, such was his power and strength once, that he was more than a match for emperors and kings; and those were badly off that engaged in a war with him, when his power was such, that he could depose one, and set up other, kick the crowns of kings, tread upon the necks of emperors, oblige them to hold his stirrup, while mounted his horse, and keep them barefoot at his gate for days together, waiting for admittance; of all which there are instances.

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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 13:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-13.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

which gave — A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac, and Andreas read, “because he gave.”

powerGreek,the authority” which it had; its authority.

Who is like unto the beast? — The very language appropriated to God, Exodus 15:11 (whence, in the Hebrew, the Maccabees took their name; the opponents of the Old Testament Antichrist, Antiochus); Psalm 35:10; Psalm 71:19; Psalm 113:5; Micah 7:18; blasphemously (Revelation 13:1, Revelation 13:5) assigned to the beast. It is a parody of the name “Michael” (compare Revelation 12:7), meaning, “Who is like unto God?”

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "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

They worshipped the dragon (προσεκυνησαν τωι δρακοντιprosekunēsan tōi drakonti). First aorist active indicative of προσκυνεωproskuneō with dative case δρακοντιdrakonti (from δρακωνdrakōn). They really worshipped Satan (the dragon) when “they worshipped the beast” (προσεκυνησαν τωι τηριωιprosekunēsan tōi thēriōi) or any one of the heads (like Caligula, Nero, Domitian) of the beast. The beast is merely the tool of the devil for worship. Recall the fact that the devil even proposed that Jesus worship him. Emperor-worship, like all idolatry, was devil-worship. The same thing is true today about self-worship (humanism or any other form of it).

Who is like unto the beast? (τις ομοιος τωι τηριωιtis homoios tōi thēriōi̱). Associative-instrumental case after ομοιοςhomoios An echo, perhaps parody, of like language about God in Exodus 15:11; Psalm 35:10; Psalm 113:5. “The worship of such a monster as Nero was indeed a travesty of the worship of God” (Swete).

And who is able to war with him? (και τις δυναται πολεμησαι μετ αυτουkai tis dunatai polemēsai met' autou̱). Worship of the devil and the devil‘s agent is justified purely on the ground of brute force. It is the doctrine of Nietzsche that might makes right.

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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 13:4". "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

Which gave ( ὁς ἔδωκεν )

The correct reading is ὅτι because he gave.”

Who is like unto the beast?

A parody on a similar ascription to God. See Isaiah 40:18, Isaiah 40:25; Isaiah 46:5; Psalm 113:5; Micah 7:18; Jeremiah 49:19. Compare Revelation 18:18.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "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.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

They worshipped the dragon; that is, in effect, they worshipped Satan, by serving and honoring the power which Satan had raised.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-13.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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

Ver. 4. And they worshipped] Admiration bred adoration. Idolatrous Papists are worshippers of the devil; whom though in word they defy, yet in deed they deify.

Who is like unto the beast?] Papa potest omnia, quae Christus potest, saith Hostiensis; The pope can do whatsoever Christ can do; yea, and more too, it should seem by these wise wonderers: for who is like unto the beast? say they. Papa est plus quam Deus, saith Francis Zabarel; The pope is more than a God. And why? for of wrong he can make right, of vice, virtue, of nothing, something, saith Bellarmine. (De Pap. Rom. lib. iv.) Mosconius cannot be content to derive papa from papae, the interjection of admiring, because he is stupor mundi, the world’s wonderment (that ye may know him to be the beast here mentioned), but he must style him the King of kings and Lord of lords, having ruledom over all rational creatures, Dulia adorandus. (De Majestat. Militant. Ecclesiastes 1:1)

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-13.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

From admiration in the former verse, they proceed to adoration in this, they worship both the dragon and the best, that is, they did worship idols, which are often in scripture called devils; like the Gentiles of old, who are said by St. Paul to sacrifice to devils, and not unto God, 1 Corinthians 10:20.

Behold here a vast difference between God's judgment and the opinion of the seduced world. They think the worship they give to a creature is given to God; but God accounts it as given to the devil, who is the author of all idolatry.

Note next, That as the seduced world worshipped the beast, so do they extol his earthly grandeur and surpassing power, saying, Who is like unto the beast! who is able to make war with him? Who can resist his power and greatness? The greatest princes are not able to withstand him. See how pomp and worldly grandeur dazzles the eyes of its admirers.

Note farther, That a mouth was given this beast to speak, that is, a power by the devil's instigation and God's permission to utter blasphemies against the Most High.

1. The blasphemous mouth of the beast is opened against the name of God, that is, against the word of God, by which God makes himself known, as a man is known by his name. Now the word of God is blasphemed by the beast and his worshippers, when it is charged with obscurity, with imperfection, called a dead letter, and a nose of wax, &c. The Spirit of God is blasphemed, when his divinely inspired writings are thus vilified and undervalued.

2. This blasphemous mouth is opened not only against God's name, but against his tabernacle, the place of his instituted worship; meaning by his tabernacle, the true church, wherein God is worshipped according to his word. God accounts himself blasphemed when his true worshippers are called Heretics, Schismatics, and in a way of scorn Hugonots, and the Synagogue of Satan.

3. They blaspheme them that dwell in heaven, by which some understand the holy martyrs now in heaven, whom they frequently called damned heretics, blackening their names, and blasting their reputations; others understand it of some saints in heaven, whom they pretend to honour, as the Virgin Mary, &c. They blaspheme them, namely, by speaking of them, and praying to them blasphemeously, as when they bid the Holy Virgin, "in the right of a mother, command her Son."

Hence observe, That when we give that honour and worship to saints and angels, which is only due to God, it is an idolatrous and impious blaspheming of them that dwell in heaven; were the Virgin Mary sensible in heaven of that idolatrous adoration which is given her here on earth, with what indignation and disdain would she look down upon this sacrilegious violence offered to her only Son, in robbing him of that divine honour which is peculiarly due to his divine nature! for religious adoration is peculiar to a deity.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-13.html. 1700-1703.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 13:4. καὶ προσεκύνησαν τῷ δράκοντικαὶ προσεκύνηεαν τὸ θηρίον) The verb προσκυνεῖν, when it treats of the worship of God, everywhere takes the Dative; and thus it is used of the worship of the angel, ch. Revelation 19:10 : but when used of devils and idols, the Accusative, ch. Revelation 9:20. Hence προσκυνεῖν, with the Dative, seems to mean something more than with the Accusative, especially when the two cases are used in one passage, as here and ch. Revelation 14:9; Revelation 14:11, Revelation 20:4. From this worship I have in my German Exegesis incidentally confirmed Proposition 2, which has been before reviewed on Revelation 13:1. D. Lange says, that he does not regard the beast as a purely political power: Epicr. p. 389. But I have here refuted those, who in other respects agree with him, and who determine it to be a political power, although in different senses. See the same, p. 383.— τίς δυνατὸς, who able) that is, ἐστί; Thus the Septuagint, δυνατὸς ἔσομαι; Numbers 23:1 (Numbers 22:38). Comp. the LXX. also, Numbers 13:31; Genesis 32:28; Daniel 3:17. The worshippers of the beast challenge others: who (is) like the beast? who (is) able to make war with him? Car. Sigonius, Book XIV., concerning the kingdom of Italy, at the year 1176, says: Great men easily impelled (Frederic), who, by repeatedly reminding him that this war was not carried on with man, but with God, prevailed upon him to send ambassadors to Alexander respecting peace. The same writer shortly afterwards represents Alexander himself as saying, That the cause of God is at stake in this war, which cause Frederic has opposed, by opposing the lawful Pontiff. Horatius Tursellinus, in his Epitome of History, says, At length Frederic, perceiving that he was carrying on war, not with men, but with GOD, finally made peace with Alexander. Matthew of Paris thus speaks concerning the same matter:—“The Emperor Frederic came TO THE FEET OF ALEXANDER THE POPE: for he heard and was assured of this, that when he was fleeing from the persecution of the Emperor, and there was no safe passage for him over land, or indeed over the sea, when a tempest had arisen, he put on all his papal attire on board the ship, as if about to celebrate [mass], and stood and commanded the sea and the winds in the place of Jesus Christ, whose vicar he was, AS HE SAID, and immediately there was a great calm. On hearing of this, the Emperor was astonished, and humbly submitted to him in all things, FEARING GOD HOWEVER MORE than MEN.”—Hist. Angl. at the year 1577. Great indeed and blasphemous are the things which his worshippers say of the beast, and the beast of himself, Revelation 13:5-6. See Rome’s Final Downfall, pp. 7–18, I. F. Mayer in Diss. c. Grot., whether it be a dogma of the Papists, that the Roman Pontiff is a god.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". 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

And they worshipped the dragon: by the dragon, here, is to be understood the devil.

Which gave power unto the beast; who gave power to these emperors; not that they did so directly, but interpretatively; they worshipped idols, which ordinarily in Scripture are called devils.

And they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Possibly worshipping in this latter clause is not to be understood of a Divine adoration, but a civil subjection; people, upon the driving out of these their enemies, generally gave themselves up to the obedience of their emperors and the bishops of Rome, commanding them idolatrous worship; and admired these two, as those by whom they had been delivered from those enemies who had plagued them so long.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-13.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Worshipped the dragon; by worshipping or paying divine honors to the beast, his agent in persecuting the saints.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "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

2. They worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?-- 13:4. From this a dual pagan worship resulted. They worshipped both dragon and beast--that is, they worshipped one in the other. Thus, it becomes even more evident that the near death stroke to the empire was caused by the uprisings, rebellions and civil wars. But the empire survived the stroke, because the wound was healed when the insurrections and rebellions were conquered. This victory of the empire produced the pagan idolatry for the dragon and the beast, personified in the Roman emperor--hence, the worship of the emperor.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "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 apparent resurrection of this nation will be so amazing to the world that many people will give their allegiance and their worship to Antichrist (cf. Revelation 13:8; Revelation 13:12; Revelation 14:9; Revelation 14:11; Revelation 20:4). In so doing they will also submit to Satan who is behind him. Antichrist"s ability to revive this nation will make him appear invincible. The expression, "Who is like the beast?" ( Revelation 13:4) seems to be a parody of Old Testament praises of God (cf. Exodus 15:11; Psalm 35:10; Psalm 113:5; Isaiah 40:18; Isaiah 40:25; Isaiah 46:5; Jeremiah 49:19; Micah 7:18). Note that it is Antichrist"s power, not his character, that will elicit worldwide admiration. Later the Lamb will prove superior to the beast ( Revelation 14:1-5; Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:11-21).

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "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 13:4. This verse contains a parody of the ascriptions of praise given to the true God in many passages of the Old Testament (Isaiah 40:18; Isaiah 40:25; Isaiah 46:5; Psalms 113:5, etc.). If the words apply to Nero they must apply to Nero redux, for it is unnecessary to spend time in showing that it is to the beast as healed, and not before it was stain, that the song is raised (comp. especially chap. Revelation 17:8). But there is not a tittle of evidence to prove that homage of this kind was paid even to the thought of the resuscitated tyrant. The acclamations with which he had been received by the citizens of Rome, when he returned from Campania his hands red with the blood of his murdered mother, belong to a period before his death, and afford no indication of the feelings with which he was regarded after that event. It is true that some even then cherished his memory and decked his tomb with flowers. But, as invariably happens when a tyrant dies, the sentiment of the masses underwent an immediate and profound revulsion. Suetonius tells us that ‘the public joy was so great upon the occasion that the people ran up and down with caps upon their heads’ (Nero, chap. 57). Horror rather than admiration filled their breasts.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "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

They adored the dragon; i.e. in antichrist's time, they will adore both antichrist and the devil, who will make war against the saints for forty-two months, i.e. a short time, signified also by 1260 days, and by three years and a half. (Witham)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-13.html. 1859.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

Thus, the earth worshiped the beast as more powerful than any other.

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-13.html. 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

worshipped. App-137.

which. The texts read "because he".

power = the power. App-172.; "authority" in Revelation 13:2.

who. The texts read "and who".

make war. The same word in Revelation 17:14. This being will stop wars and be acclaimed by the peoples on that account.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "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 they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

Which gave. So B but 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, Syriac, Andreas, 'because he gave.'

Power - `the authority:' its authority.

Who is like unto the beast? The language appropriated to God, Exodus 15:11 (whence [from the initials Mi Camocah Baelim Yahweh] the Maccabees took their name: the opponents of the Old Testament Antichrist, Daniel 8:1-27; Daniel 11:1-45, Antiochus); Psalms 35:10; Psalms 71:19; Psalms 113:5; Micah 7:18 : blasphemously (Revelation 13:1; Revelation 13:5) assigned to the beast: a parody of "Michael" (cf. Revelation 12:7), 'Who is like unto God?'

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-13.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
And they
2; 9:20; Psalms 106:37,38; 1 Corinthians 10:20-22; 2 Corinthians 4:4
and they
12,13,15; Daniel 11:36,37; 2 Thessalonians 2:4
Who is like
18:18
who is able
17:14; Deuteronomy 9:2; 1 Samuel 17:24
Reciprocal: Genesis 3:5 - as gods;  1 Samuel 17:33 - Thou art not;  Job 34:30 - GeneralPsalm 49:18 - praise;  Isaiah 27:1 - the dragon;  Ezekiel 29:3 - the great;  Matthew 12:44 - he findeth;  Luke 6:26 - when;  Acts 12:22 - GeneralActs 19:28 - and cried;  Acts 19:34 - Great;  Revelation 12:3 - a great;  Revelation 13:8 - all;  Revelation 13:14 - they;  Revelation 17:8 - shall wonder;  Revelation 20:2 - the dragon

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-13.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

WORSHIP OF THE DRAGON AND THE BEAST.

Revelation 13:4. — "And they worshipped the dragon, because he gave the authority to the Beast; and they worshipped the Beast, saying, Who (is) like the Beast? and who can war with him? " Here God is set aside, and the dragon usurps His place. Not the Creator, but Satan becomes the object of universal worship. Mere profession is worthless in that awful day. Reality alone can avail in a scene wholly given up to Satan. Only those whose names have been written in the Lamb's book, or, in other words, the elect (v. 8), can confront Satan in the hour of his apparent triumph. In the eyes of men the dragon has just done what it was supposed God alone could do, given supreme authority to the Beast; on that account divine honours are paid to him. But the Beast also is worshipped. The wonder which, with super-human features added, his reappearance in the scene of history arouses is succeeded by worship. Both the astonishment and the worship are universal, the latter in character and extent exceeding anything ever before witnessed in Rome. Spiritualism, which has been making gigantic strides of late years, is working for one definite object, the worship of the devil. In Europe and America devil-worship is largely practised. In 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 we learn that the man of sin, who is identical with the second Beast of our chapter, is also worshipped. What horrible blasphemy! What a mockery and parody of Christianity! Not the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but triune devil-worship: the dragon, the Beast, and the man of sin. And is this what christian (?) England is coming to? The higher critics are doing their best under the influence of Satan to hand over Christendom to the devil, and they are making rapid progress in that direction. "Who is like the Beast? and who can make war with him?"{*In this proud and defiant challenge the claim of omnipotence is advanced. Beyond all power which has ever appeared on earth the Beast stands forth as acting directly in the super-human power of the dragon — a power which spares not and knows no pity.} intimate that his power and war-like prowess are the dazzling qualities which win the admiration of the world, and hence the homage due to his exalted position, but not worship is the special point here. We think, however, more is implied, and that divine honours shall be paid to the personal head of the restored empire; to effect which is the work of the second Beast (vv. 12-15).

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "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

They means the people of the world who worshipped the dragon (Satan) who gave his power to the beast (Pagan Rome). Worship is from a Greek word that means to do homage, not that any formal services were rendered. They worshipped the beast (Pagan Rome) which explains why they worshipped the dragon. They were admirers of the beast and naturally would feel kindly toward any being that would give him some support. With all this background in favor of the beast, they asked in the spirit of challenge who was able to make war with him.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". 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 13:4

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

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

who is able to make war with the beast?

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

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

power, and great authority,

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

power, and seat, and great authority

is of the devil, the dragon.

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

D.S. Clark's Commentary on Revelation

V:4. And they worshiped both the dragon and the beast, saying, "Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?" How the world worships power and sides with the strong! But were the emperors of Rome really worshiped? Gibbon, the historian of Rome, is authority for that fact. And another historian asserts of Caligula, one of the seven emperors, represented by these seven heads: "he began to regard himself as something more than a mere mortal, and to claim divine honors; and finally he erected a temple to himself and instituted a college of priests to superintend hisown worship." And so John goes on to say, in verses5, 6, that he spake great blasphemies against God, to blaspheme his name, his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

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Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Revelation 13:4. And worshipped the dragon,[Note: The proper reading is τῷ δρά κοντι and τὸ θηρί ον. Bengel long ago remarked, " τῷ δρά κοντι, a middle rending, since what follows is τὸ θηρί ον; whence some have put the accusative, and others the dative, twice." προσκυνεῖ ν is in like manner construed variously with the dat. and the accus. in John 4:21; Revelation 14:9; Revelation 14:11; Revelation 20:4.] because he gave the power to the beast, and worshipped the beast: Who is like the beast! and who can make war with him! Bengel remarks, "Those, who regarded the beast as deserving of adoration, at the same time worshipped the dragon, without being themselves conscious of it. This was very agreeable to the dragon. Those who despise the Son of God, despise also the Father, although they are not aware of it. And there is the same connection on the other side in regard to the worship of the beast and the dragon."This representation, however, has arisen merely from the embarrassment in which the worship of the dragon involves those who understand by the beast the Papacy. We cannot here think of a worshipping of the dragon simply in the beast. For it is expressly said, that they worshipped the dragon because he gave. In the kind of worship paid, therefore, a distinction was observed between the giver of the power and the bearer of it. We are rather to hold, that they worshipped the dragon under the form of an idolatrous service, which, according to ch. Revelation 9:20, has a demoniacal, Satanic background. The property of being incomparable belongs only to God—see Exodus 15:11; Psalms 89:7; Isaiah 40:18—and to Christ, who is connected with him by oneness of nature, and appears in the Revelation under the name of Michael, "who is like God," (Revelation 12:7). They make the beast, to which the dragon gives his power, or the beast in his connection with the dragon, a Michael, and scornfully challenge the true Michael and his servants to measure themselves with him. They were allured to this folly by seeing the beast stand before them in renovated strength. God had raised Christ from the dead, and had thereby powerfully revived the hopes of his prostrate church, and filled her with buoyant and victorious energy. A similar wonder seemed now to be wrought by the dragon in favour of the beast. This also celebrated a resurrection, and hence the jubilee-shout of his adherents rose so high: Who is like the beast, and who can make war with him?

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-13.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4.Worshipped the dragon—In retaining many of the forms and practices of old paganism. As the dragon is the impersonation of the pagan empire, so the beast is the impersonation of the nominally Christianized empire, and personal attributes and acts are ascribed to both alike. But the latter is made to individualize itself through the second beast and the image, as a sort of triunity, a three yet one. So that the official acts of the representative “image” are spoken of as the acts of the beast, the antichristic empire and vice versa.

Who is like—Claim unique authority for the spiritual empire.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-13.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 13:4. All that had transpired—Nero’s own death heralding a return, and the collapse of his dynasty proving no fatal blow to the empire—had simply aggrandised the influence of Rome. The Caesar-cult which characterised it is dubbed a worship of Satan by the indignant prophet. The hymn to the incomparable and invincible beast is a parody of O.T. hymns to God. In the following description (Revelation 13:5-8) two traits are blended: insolent blasphemy towards God and almost irresistible powers of seduction over men. Both are adapted from the classical sketch of Antiochus Epiphanes (in Daniel 7:8; Daniel 7:20; Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7), the prototype of that anti-divine force whose climax had been reached, as the prophet believed, in the divine pretensions of the Caesars.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-13.html. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

4. They worshiped the beast also. At the time when John lived, Roman Emperors demanded that people call them “Lord” and “Savior.” See notes on Revelation 13:15-16.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 13:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-13.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.