Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
VISION OF THE
OUT OF THE
OUT OF THE
POWER OF THE
1. I stood--So B, Aleph, and Coptic read. But A,
C, Vulgate, and Syriac, "He stood." Standing on
the sand of the sea, HE gave his power to the beast that
rose out of the sea.
upon the sand of the sea--where the four winds were to be
seen striving upon the great sea
beast--Greek, "wild beast." Man becomes "brutish" when he
severs himself from God, the archetype and true ideal, in whose image
he was first made, which ideal is realized by the man Christ Jesus.
Hence, the world powers seeking their own glory, and not God's, are
represented as beasts; and Nebuchadnezzar, when in
self-deification he forgot that "the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of
men," was driven among the beasts. In
there are four beasts: here the one beast expresses the
sum-total of the God-opposed world power viewed in its universal
development, not restricted to one manifestation alone, as Rome. This
first beast expresses the world power attacking the Church more from
without; the second, which is a revival of, and minister to, the first,
is the world power as the false prophet corrupting and
destroying the Church from within.
out of the sea--
compare Note, see on
out of the troubled waves of peoples, multitudes, nations, and
tongues. The earth
on the other hand, means the consolidated, ordered world of nations,
with its culture and learning.
seven heads and ten horns--A, B, and C transpose, "ten horns and
seven heads." The ten horns are now put first (contrast the order,
because they are crowned. They shall not be so till the last stage of
the fourth kingdom (the Roman), which shall continue until the fifth
kingdom, Christ's, shall supplant it and destroy it utterly; this last
stage is marked by the ten toes of the two feet of the image in
Da 2:33, 41, 42.
The seven implies the world power setting up itself as God, and
caricaturing the seven Spirits of God; yet its true character as
God-opposed is detected by the number ten accompanying the
seven. Dragon and beast both wear crowns, but the former on the heads,
the latter on the horns
(Re 12:3; 13:1).
Therefore, both heads and horns refer to kingdoms; compare
Re 17:7, 10, 12,
"kings" representing the kingdoms whose heads they are. The
seven kings, as peculiarly powerful--the great powers of the
world--are distinguished from the ten, represented by the horns
(simply called "kings,"
In Daniel, the ten mean the last phase of the world power, the
fourth kingdom divided into ten parts. They are connected with
the seventh head
and are as yet future [AUBERLEN]. The mistake of
those who interpret the beast to be Rome exclusively, and the ten
horns to mean kingdoms which have taken the place of Rome in Europe
already, is, the fourth kingdom in the image has TWO legs, representing the eastern as well as the
western empire; the ten toes are not upon the one foot (the west), as
these interpretations require, but on the two (east and west) together,
so that any theory which makes the ten kingdoms belong to the west
alone must err. If the ten kingdoms meant were those which sprung up on
the overthrow of Rome, the ten would be accurately known, whereas
twenty-eight different lists are given by so many interpreters, making
in all sixty-five kingdoms! [TYSO in DE BURGH]. The seven heads are the
seven world monarchies, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome,
the Germanic empire, under the last of which we live [AUBERLEN], and which devolved for a time on Napoleon,
after Francis, emperor of Germany and king of Rome, had resigned the
title in 1806. FABER explains the healing of
the deadly wound to be the revival of the Napoleonic dynasty after
its overthrow at Waterloo. That secular dynasty, in alliance with the
ecclesiastical power, the Papacy
&c.), being "the eighth head," and yet "of the seven"
will temporarily triumph over the saints, until destroyed in Armageddon
A Napoleon, in this view, will be the Antichrist, restoring the Jews to
Palestine, and accepted as their Messiah at first, and afterwards
fearfully oppressing them. Antichrist, the summing up and concentration
of all the world evil that preceded, is the eighth, but yet one of the
name of blasphemy--So C, Coptic, and
ANDREAS. A, B, and Vulgate read, "names of
blasphemy," namely, a name on each of the heads; blasphemously
arrogating attributes belonging to God alone (compare Note, see
A characteristic of the little horn in
Da 7:8, 20, 21;
2. leopard . . . bear . . . lion--This beast
unites in itself the God-opposed characteristics of the three preceding
kingdoms, resembling respectively the leopard, bear, and
lion. It rises up out of the sea, as Daniel's four
beasts, and has ten horns, as Daniel's fourth beast, and
seven heads, as Daniel's four beasts had in all, namely, one on the
first, one on the second, four on the third, and one on the fourth.
Thus it represents comprehensively in one figure the world power
(which in Daniel is represented by four) of all times and
places, not merely of one period and one locality, viewed as
opposed to God; just as the woman is the Church of all ages.
This view is favored also by the fact, that the beast is the vicarious
representative of Satan, who similarly has seven heads and
ten horns: a general description of his universal power in all
ages and places of the world. Satan appears as a serpent, as being the
archetype of the beast nature
"If the seven heads meant merely seven Roman emperors, one cannot
understand why they alone should be mentioned in the original image of
Satan, whereas it is perfectly intelligible if we suppose them to
represent Satan's power on earth viewed collectively" [AUBERLEN].
3. One of--literally, "from among."
wounded . . . healed--twice again repeated
(Re 13:12, 14);
Re 17:8, 11,
"the beast that was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the
bottomless pit" (compare
the Germanic empire, the seventh head (revived in the eighth),
as yet future in John's time
Contrast the change whereby Nebuchadnezzar, being humbled from his
self-deifying pride, was converted from his beast-like form and
character to MAN'S form and true position towards
God; symbolized by his eagle wings being plucked, and himself
made to stand upon his feet as a man
Here, on the contrary, the beast's head is not changed into a
human head, but receives a deadly wound, that is, the world
kingdom which this head represents does not truly turn to God, but for
a time its God-opposed character remains paralyzed ("as it were slain";
the very words marking the beast's outward resemblance to the Lamb, "as
it were slain," see on
Compare also the second beast's resemblance to the Lamb,
Though seemingly slain (Greek for "wounded"), it remains
the beast still, to rise again in another form
The first six heads were heathenish, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia,
Greece, Rome; the new seventh world power (the pagan German hordes
pouring down on Christianized Rome), whereby Satan had hoped to stifle
(Re 11:15, 16),
became itself Christianized (answering to the beast's, as it were,
deadly wound: it was slain, and it is not,
Its ascent out of the bottomless pit answers to the healing
of its deadly wound
No essential change is noticed in Daniel as effected by Christianity
upon the fourth kingdom; it remains essentially God-opposed to the
last. The beast, healed of its temporary and external
wound, now returns, not only from the sea, but from the
bottomless pit, whence it draws new Antichristian strength of
(Re 13:3, 11, 12, 14;
Re 11:7; 17:8).
Compare the seven evil spirits taken into the temporarily
dispossessed, and the last state worse than the first,
A new and worse heathenism breaks in upon the Christianized world, more
devilish than the old one of the first heads of the beast. The latter
was an apostasy only from the general revelation of God in nature and
conscience; but this new one is from God's revelation of love in His
Son. It culminates in Antichrist, the man of sin, the son of perdition
the very characteristics of old heathenism
[AUBERLEN]. More than one wound seems to me to be
meant, for example, that under Constantine (when the pagan worship of
the emperor's image gave way to Christianity), followed by the healing,
when image worship and the other papal errors were introduced into the
Church; again, that at the Reformation, followed by the lethargic
form of godliness without the power, and about to end in the
last great apostasy, which I identify with the second beast
Antichrist, the same seventh world power in another form.
wondered after--followed with wondering gaze.
4. which gave--A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac, and
ANDREAS read, "because he gave."
power--Greek, "the authority" which it had;
Who is like unto the beast?--The very language appropriated to
(whence, in the Hebrew, the Maccabees took their name; the
opponents of the Old Testament Antichrist, Antiochus);
Ps 35:10; 71:19; 113:5;
(Re 13:1, 5)
assigned to the beast. It is a parody of the name "Michael" (compare
meaning, "Who is like unto God?"
5. blasphemies--So ANDREAS reads. B reads
"blasphemy." A, "blasphemous things" (compare
Da 7:8; 11:25).
power--"authority"; legitimate power (Greek,
to continue--Greek, "poiesai," "to act," or
"work." B reads, "to make war" (compare
But A, C, Vulgate, Syriac, and ANDREAS omit
forty . . . two month--(See on
Re 11:2, 3;
6. opened . . . mouth--The usual formula in the case
of a set speech, or series of speeches.
Re 13:6, 7
blasphemy--So B and ANDREAS. A and C read
and them--So Vulgate, Coptic,
ANDREAS, and PRIMASIUS read.
A and C omit "and": "them that dwell (literally, 'tabernacle') in
heaven," mean not only angels and the departed souls of the righteous,
but believers on earth who have their citizenship in heaven, and whose
true life is hidden from the Antichristian persecutor in the secret
of God's tabernacle. See on
7. power--Greek, "authority."
all kindreds . . . tongues . . .
nations--Greek, "every tribe . . . tongue
. . . nation." A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac,
ANDREAS, and PRIMASIUS add
"and people," after "tribe" or "kindred."
8. all that dwell upon the earth--being of earth earthy; in
contrast to "them that dwell in heaven."
whose names are not written--A, B, C, Syriac, Coptic, and
ANDREAS read singular, "(every one) whose
(Greek, 'hou'; but B, Greek, 'hon,' plural)
name is not written."
Lamb slain from the foundation of the world--The Greek
order of words favors this translation. He was slain in the
Father's eternal counsels: compare
1Pe 1:19, 20,
virtually parallel. The other way of connecting the words is, "Written
from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb
slain." So in
The elect. The former is in the Greek more obvious and simple.
"Whatsoever virtue was in the sacrifices, did operate through Messiah's
death alone. As He was "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the
world," so all atonements ever made were only effectual by His blood"
Exposition of the Creed].
9. A general exhortation. Christ's own words of monition calling
10. He that leadeth into captivity--A, B, C, and Vulgate
read, "if any one (be) for captivity."
shall go into captivity--Greek present, "goeth into
which is alluded to here. Aleph, B, and C read simply, "he goeth
away," and omit "into captivity." But A and Vulgate support the
he that killeth with the sword, must be killed with the
sword--So B and C read. But A reads, "if any (is for) being
(literally, 'to be') killed with the sword." As of old, so now, those
to be persecuted by the beast in various ways, have their trials
severally appointed them by God's fixed counsel. English Version
is quite a different sense, namely, a warning to the persecutors that
they shall be punished with retribution in kind.
Here--"Herein": in bearing their appointed sufferings lies the
patient endurance . . . of the saints. This is to be
the motto and watchword of the elect during the period of the world
kingdom. As the first beast is to be met by patience and
the second beast must be opposed by true wisdom
11. another beast--"the false prophet."
out of the earth--out of society civilized, consolidated, and
ordered, but still, with all its culture, of earth earthy: as
distinguished from "the sea," the troubled agitations of various
peoples out of which the world power and its several kingdoms have
emerged. "The sacerdotal persecuting power, pagan and
Christian; the pagan priesthood making an image of the emperors
which they compelled Christians to worship, and working wonders by
magic and omens; the Romish priesthood, the inheritors of pagan rites,
images, and superstitions, lamb-like in Christian professions,
dragon-like in word and act" [ALFORD, and so the
Spanish Jesuit, LACUNZA, writing under the name
BEN EZRA]. As the first beast
was like the Lamb in being, as it were, wounded to death, so the
second is like the Lamb in having two lamb-like horns (its
essential difference from the Lamb is marked by its having
TWO, but the Lamb SEVEN
The former paganism of the world power, seeming to be wounded to death
by Christianity, revives. In its second beast-form it is Christianized
heathendom ministering to the former, and having earthly culture and
learning to recommend it. The second beast's, or false prophet's rise,
coincides in time with the healing of the beast's deadly wound and its
Its manifold character is marked by the Lord
(Mt 24:11, 24),
"Many false prophets shall rise," where He is speaking of the
last days. As the former beast corresponds to the first four beasts of
Daniel, so the second beast, or the false prophet, to the little horn
starting up among the ten horns of the fourth beast. This
Antichristian horn has not only the mouth of blasphemy
but also "the eyes of man"
the former is also in the first beast
(Re 13:1, 5),
but the latter not so. "The eyes of man" symbolize cunning and
intellectual culture, the very characteristic of "the false prophet"
The first beast is physical and political; the second a spiritual
power, the power of knowledge, ideas (the favorite term in the French
school of politics), and scientific cultivation. Both alike are
beasts, from below, not from above; faithful allies, worldly
Antichristian wisdom standing in the service of the worldly
Antichristian power: the dragon is both lion and serpent: might and
cunning are his armory. The dragon gives his external power to the
his spirit to the second, so that it speaks as a dragon
The second, arising out of the earth, is in
Re 11:7; 17:8,
said to ascend out of the bottomless pit: its very culture and
world wisdom only intensify its infernal character, the pretense to
superior knowledge and rationalistic philosophy (as in the primeval
Ge 3:5, 7,
"their EYES [as here] were opened") veiling the
deification of nature, self, and man. Hence spring Idealism,
Materialism, Deism, Pantheism, Atheism. Antichrist shall be the
culmination. The Papacy's claim to the double power, secular and
spiritual, is a sample and type of the twofold beast, that out of
the sea, and that out of the earth, or bottomless
pit. Antichrist will be the climax, and final form. PRIMASIUS OF ADRUMENTUM, in the
sixth century, says, "He feigns to be a lamb that he may assail the
Lamb--the body of Christ."
12. power--Greek, "authority."
before him--"in his presence"; as ministering to, and upholding
him. "The non-existence of the beast embraces the whole Germanic
Christian period. The healing of the wound and return of the beast is
represented [in regard to its final Antichristian manifestation
though including also, meanwhile, its healing and return under Popery,
which is baptized heathenism] in that principle which, since 1789, has
manifested itself in beast-like outbreaks" [AUBERLEN].
which dwell therein--the earthly-minded. The Church becomes the
harlot: the world's political power, the Antichristian
beast; the world's wisdom and civilization, the false
prophet. Christ's three offices are thus perverted: the first beast
is the false kingship; the harlot, the false priesthood;
the second beast, the false prophet. The beast is the
bodily, the false prophet the intellectual, the harlot
the spiritual power of Antichristianity
[AUBERLEN]. The Old-Testament Church stood
under the power of the beast, the heathen world power: the
Middle-Ages Church under that of the harlot: in modern times
the false prophet predominates. But in the last days all these
God-opposed powers which have succeeded each other shall
co-operate, and raise each other to the most terrible and
intense power of their nature: the false prophet causes men to
worship the beast, and the beast carries the harlot. These three
forms of apostasy are reducible to two: the apostate Church and
the apostate world, pseudo-Christianity and
Antichristianity, the harlot and the beast; for the false
prophet is also a beast; and the two beasts, as different
manifestations of the same beast-like principle, stand in
contradistinction to the harlot, and are finally judged together,
whereas separate judgment falls on the harlot [AUBERLEN].
deadly wound--Greek, "wound of death."
13. wonders--Greek, "signs."
so that--so great that.
maketh fire--Greek, "maketh even fire." This is the very
miracle which the two witnesses perform, and which Elijah long ago had
performed; this the beast from the bottomless pit, or the false
prophet, mimics. Not merely tricks, but miracles of a demoniacal kind,
and by demon aid, like those of the Egyptian magicians, shall be
wrought, most calculated to deceive; wrought "after the working
(Greek, 'energy') of Satan."
14. deceiveth them that dwell on the earth--the earthly-minded,
but not the elect. Even a miracle is not enough to warrant
belief in a professed revelation unless that revelation be in harmony
with God's already revealed will.
by the means of those miracles--rather as Greek,
"on account of (because of; in consequence of) those miracles."
which he had power to do--Greek, "which were given him to
in the sight of the beast--"before him"
which--A, B, and C read, "who"; marking, perhaps, a personal
had--So B and ANDREAS read. But A, C, and
Vulgate read, "hath."
15. he had power--Greek, "it was given to him."
to give life--Greek, "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,
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
JEROME, on Daniel 7, 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.
16. to receive a mark--literally, "that they should give them a
mark"; such a brand as masters stamp on their slaves, and monarchs on
their subjects. Soldiers voluntarily punctured their arms with marks of
the general under whom they served. Votaries of idols branded
themselves with the idol's cipher or symbol. Thus Antiochus Epiphanes
branded the Jews with the ivy leaf, the symbol of Bacchus
(2 Maccabees 6:7; 3 Maccabees 2:29).
Contrast God's seal and name in the foreheads of His
Re 7:3; 14:1; 22:4;
"I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus," that is, I am His
soldier and servant. The mark in the right hand and forehead implies
the prostration of bodily and intellectual powers to the
beast's domination. "In the forehead by way of profession; in
the hand with respect to work and service" [AUGUSTINE].
17. And--So A, B, and Vulgate read. C,
IRENÆUS, 316, Coptic, and
Syriac omit it.
might buy--Greek, "may be able to buy."
the mark, or the name--Greek, "the mark (namely), the
name of the beast." The mark may be, as in the case of the sealing of
the saints in the forehead, not a visible mark, but symbolical of
allegiance. So the sign of the cross in Popery. The Pope's interdict
has often shut out the excommunicate from social and commercial
intercourse. Under the final Antichrist this shall come to pass in its
most violent form.
number of his name--implying that the name has some numerical
18. wisdom--the armory against the second beast, as patience
and faith against the first. Spiritual wisdom is needed to
solve the mystery of iniquity, so as not to be beguiled by it.
count . . . for--The "for" implies the possibility of
our calculating or counting the beast's number.
the number of a man--that is, counted as men generally count. So
the phrase is used in
The number is the number of a man, not of God; he shall
extol himself above the power of the Godhead, as the
MAN of sin [AQUINAS].
Though it is an imitation of the divine name, it is only human.
six hundred threescore and six--A and Vulgate write the
numbers in full in the Greek. But B writes merely the three
Greek letters standing for numbers, Ch, X, St. "C reads"
616, but IRENÆUS, 328, opposes this and
maintains "666." IRENÆUS, in the second
century, disciple of POLYCARP, John's disciple,
explained this number as contained in the Greek letters of
Lateinos (L being thirty; A, one; T, three hundred; E, five; I,
ten; N, fifty; O, seventy; S, two hundred). The Latin is
peculiarly the language of the Church of Rome in all her official acts;
the forced unity of language in ritual being the counterfeit of the
true unity; the premature and spurious anticipation of the real unity,
only to be realized at Christ's coming, when all the earth shall speak
The last Antichrist may have a close connection with Rome, and so the
name Lateinos (666) may apply to him. The Hebrew letters
of Balaam amount to 666 [BUNSEN]; a type of
the false prophet, whose characteristic, like Balaam's, will be
high spiritual knowledge perverted to Satanic ends. The number
six is the world number; in 666 it occurs in units, tens, and
hundreds. It is next neighbor to the sacred seven, but is
severed from it by an impassable gulf. It is the number of the world
given over to judgment; hence there is a pause between the sixth
and seventh seals, and the sixth and seventh trumpets. The judgments on
the world are complete in six; by the fulfilment of
seven, the kingdoms of the world become Christ's. As
twelve is the number of the Church, so six, its half, symbolizes
the world kingdom broken. The raising of the six to tens and hundreds
(higher powers) indicates that the beast, notwithstanding his
progression to higher powers, can only rise to greater ripeness for
judgment. Thus 666, the judged world power, contrasts with the 144,000
sealed and transfigured ones (the Church number, twelve, squared and
multiplied by one thousand, the number symbolizing the world pervaded
by God; ten, the world number, raised to the power of three the number
of God) [AUBERLEN]. The "mark" (Greek,
"charagma") and "name" are one and the same. The first two
radical letters of Christ (Greek, "Christos"),
Ch and R, are the same as the first two of
charagma, and were the imperial monogram of Christian Rome.
Antichrist, personating Christ, adopts a symbol like, but not agreeing
with, Christ's monogram, Ch, X, St; whereas the radicals in
"Christ" are Ch, R, St. Papal Rome has similarly substituted the
standard of the Keys for the standard of the Cross; so on
the papal coinage (the image of power,
The two first letters of "Christ," Ch, R, represent seven
hundred, the perfect number. The Ch, X, St represent an
imperfect number, a triple falling away (apostasy) from
septenary perfection [WORDSWORTH].