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Daniel 8:9-14, 8:23-26, 9:27, 11:40-45, 12:7, 12:11; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation13:1-18

Daniel 8:9-14, 8:23-26, 9:27, 11:40-45, 12:7, 12:11; Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation13:1-18

Daniel 8:9-14

The interpretation of the vision.

Daniel 8:9

Without following the development of the four horns further, the prophecy passes over to the little horn, which grew up out of one of the four horns, and gained great significance in relation to the history of the people of God. The masculine forms מהם and יצא (out of them came) are to be explained as a constructio ad sensum. אחת (one) after קרן (horn) is as little superfluous as is the מן in מצּעירה. אחת is a numeral, one horn, not several; מן is either comparative, less than little, i.e., very little (Ewald), or, as less than insignificance, wretchedness, i.e., in an altogether miserable way (Hv.). The one explanation is more forced than the other, and the idea of wretchedness is altogether untenable. Yet the מן serves as a circumlocution for the superlative equals perpaucus (Gesen., Win., Aub.), while verbal analogies for it are wanting. מן signifies from, out of; but it is not to be united with קרן: one horn of smallness (v. Leng.), in which case מן would be superfluous, but with the verb יצא: it came up out of littleness, a parvo, i.e., a parvis initiis (Maur., Hofm., Kran., Klief.). Thus it corresponds with סלקת זעירה, Daniel 7:8. In the words “it arose out of littleness” there lies the idea that it grew to great power from a small beginning; for it became very great, i.e., powerful, toward the south, toward the east, and toward the הצּבי (the splendour, glory), i.e., toward the glorious land. הצּבי equals הצּבי ארץ, Daniel 11:16Daniel 11:41. This designation of the land of Israel is framed after Jeremiah 3:19 and Ezekiel 20:6Ezekiel 20:15, where this land is called “a heritage of the greatest glory of nations” (a goodly heritage of the host of nations, E. V.), “a glory of all lands,” i.e., the most glorious land which a people can possess. The expression is synonymous with חמדּה ארץ (“pleasant land”), Jeremiah 3:19Zechariah 7:14Psalm 106:24. Canaan was so designate don account of its great fruitfulness as a land flowing with milk and honey; cf. Ezekiel 20:6.

The one of the four horns from which the little horn grew up is the Syrian monarchy, and the horn growing up out of it is the king Antiochus Epiphanes, as Josephus (Ant. x. 11. 7) and all interpreters acknowledge, on the ground of 1 Macc. 1:10. The south, against which he became great, is Egypt (cf. Daniel 11:5 and 1 Macc. 1:16ff.). The east is not Asia (Kranichfeld), but Babylon, and particularly Elymas and Armenia, 1 Macc. 1:31, 37; 3:31, 37; 6:1-4, according to which he subdued Elymas and overcame Artaxias, king of Armenia (App. Syr. c. 45, 46; Polyb. xxxi. 11). Besides the south and the east, Canaan, the holy land, as lying between, is named as the third land, as in Isaiah 19:23. it is named as third, between Egypt and Assyria; but הצּבי ואל (“and toward the glorious land”) is not, with Kranichfeld, to be regarded as an exegetical addition to המּזרח ואל (“and toward the east”). Palestine lay neither to the east of Daniel, nor geographically to the east of the kingdom denoted by the little horn, because the text gives no support to the identifying of this kingdom with the Javanic, the horn operating from the west.

Daniel 8:23-26

Daniel 8:23And in the latter end of their kingdom — When their power was diminishing, and the Roman empire beginning to be established in Greece, from whence the Grecian kingdoms in Asia had their origin: for the bringing of Greece into subjection to the Roman power was a manifest indication of the declension of the Macedonian, or third monarchy, with its four heads, and the advancement of the fourth monarchy. Now this was remarkably brought to pass when Æmilius, the Roman consul, vanquished Perseus, king of Macedonia, and thereby brought all Greece under the power of the Romans, which happened one hundred and sixty-six years before Christ, and about the time when Antiochus profaned the temple, and set up therein the abomination of desolation. It must be observed likewise, that, before that time, the four horns, or kingdoms, had been reduced to two principal ones, Syria and Egypt. Antiochus had attempted to gain the latter, and had marched toward Alexandria to besiege that city, the conquest of which would have made him absolute master of the whole kingdom; but in order to prevent his success, Ptolemy Euergetes and his sister Cleopatra had sent ambassadors to the Romans, to beg their relief; and when Popilius was deputed by the senate to go into Egypt, he proposed terms to Antiochus which he was obliged to accept, and obey the commands of the senate. Thus both Syria and Egypt became, in some sort, vassals to Rome. When the transgressors are come to the full — Here the reason is assigned why God permitted these calamities to fall on his people, namely, their wickedness had risen to a very great height: of which Bishop Newton gives the following account. “The high-priesthood was exposed to sale. Good Onias was ejected for a sum of money, to make room for wicked Jason; and Jason again was supplanted for a greater sum of money, by a worse man, if possible, than himself, his brother Menelaus; and the golden vessels of the temple were sold, to pay for the sacrilegious purchase. At the same time, the customs of the heathen nations were introduced among the Jews; the youth were trained up and exercised after the manner of the Greeks; the people, apostatized from the true religion, and even the priests, (2Ma 4:14,) despising the temple, and neglecting the sacrifices, hastened to be partakers of unlawful diversions. Nay, the temple was profaned under the conduct of the high-priest Menelaus, was defiled with swine’s blood, and plundered of every thing valuable; and in the same year that Paulus Æmilius vanquished Perseus, the last king of Macedonia, and thereby put an end to that kingdom, the Jewish religion was put down, and the heathen worship was set up in the cities of Judea, and in Jerusalem; and the temple itself was consecrated to Jupiter Olympus, and his image was erected upon the very altar.” So evident it is that the transgressors were come to the full, and that it was in the latter time of the Macedonian empire, when what follows took place. A king of fierce countenance shall stand up — This is a very just character of Antiochus, according to Diodorus, Polybius, and all the historians. And such a character may be presumed to belong to antichrist, who would be acquainted with all the depths of Satan, Revelation 2:24. “I must confess,” says Mr. Wintle, “that this part of the interpretation appears to me to agree better with Antiochus than with the Romans: when interpreted of the latter, it is understood to mean a warlike and politic state.” Understanding dark sentences — One practised in craft and policy, particularly in the arts of seducing men from their religion. In this Antiochus was too successful with the Jews. Michaelis renders the clause, rex omnis doli peritus, a king skilled in every kind of deceit. Mr. Wintle reads, penetrating in mysterious craft.

Daniel 9:27

(27) And he shall confirm.—The subject of the sentence is ambiguous. Theod. makes it to be “one week.” LXX. “the covenant;” others take it to be the Antichristian prince spoken of in the last verse, an opinion which derives some support from Daniel 7:25. According to this interpretation, the covenant refers to the agreement which the prince makes with the large number of persons who become apostates. But (1) the word “covenant” does not apply to any such agreement, but rather to a covenant with God, and (2) in Daniel 9:26 it is the people of the prince, and not the prince, which is the subject of the sentence. It is therefore more appropriate to take Messiah as the subject. During the last closing week of the long period mentioned, Messiah, though cut off, shall confirm God’s covenant (comp. Daniel 11:22Daniel 11:28Daniel 11:30Daniel 11:32) with many, that is, with those who receive Him.

In the midst of the week.—Or, during half the week (the latter half of the week, according to the LXX.), he will cause to cease all the Mosaic sacrifices (possibly those mentioned in Daniel 8:11), whether bloody or unbloody. The verb “cause to cease” is used here as in Jeremiah 36:29.

And for the overspreading . . .—The Greek versions agree in translating this as follows, καὶ ἐπὶ τὸ ἱερὸν βδελυγμα τῶν ἐρημώσεων, which St. Jerome follows, “et erit in templo abominatio desolationis. However, it is not possible to obtain any such meaning from our present Hebrew text without omitting the last letter and altering the last vowel of the word translated “abominations.” As the text stands it can be literally translated only as follows, “and upon the wing of abominations is a desolator.” The desolator, of course, is the person who causes the desolations mentioned in Daniel 9:26. But what is meant by the “wing of abominations?” The language is without parallel in the Old Testament, unless such passages as Psalm 18:10Psalm 104:3 are adduced, where, however, the plural “wings,” and not the singular, is used. If the number is disregarded, the words before us are explained to mean that “the abomination” or idolatry is the power by which the desolator accomplishes his purposes. He comes riding on the wings of abominations, using them for his ministers as God does the winds or the cherubim. As it appears decisive against this interpretation that Daniel has written “wing,” and not “wings,” it is better to explain the words as referring to the “sanctuary” spoken of in the last verse. The sense is in that case, “and upon the wing—i.e., the pinnacle of the abominations (comp. the use of πτερύγιον, Matthew 4:5) is a desolator. The Temple is thus called on account of the extent to which it had been desecrated by Israel.

Until the consummation.—These words refer back to Daniel 9:26, and mean that these abominations will continue till the desolation which God has decreed shall be poured upon that which is desolated. Though the word “desolate” is active in Daniel 8:13Daniel 12:11, it appears in this passage to be used in a passive sense, as also in Daniel 9:18. That which is foretold by Daniel is the complete and final destruction of the same city and temple which evoked the prophet’s prayer. There is no prophecy that the desolator himself is destined to destruction. Of his doom nothing is here stated. The “prince” appears merely as the instrument pre-ordained by God, by whose people both city and sanctuary are to be destroyed.


Daniel 11:40-45

40. The difficulty of reconciling this with Antiochus’ history is that no historian but Porphyry mentions an expedition of his into Egypt towards the close of his reign. This Da 11:40, therefore, may be a recapitulation summing up the facts of the first expedition to Egypt (171-170 B.C.), in Da 11:22, 25; and Da 11:41, the former invasion of Judea, in Da 11:28; Da 11:42, 43, the second and third invasions of Egypt (169 and 168 B.C.) in Da 11:23, 24, 29, 30. Auberlen takes rather Porphyry’s statement, that Antiochus, in the eleventh year of his reign (166-165 B.C.), invaded Egypt again, and took Palestine on his way. The “tidings” (Da 11:44) as to the revolt of tributary nations then led him to the East. Porphyry’s statement that Antiochus starting from Egypt took Arad in Judah, and devastated all Phœnicia, agrees with Da 11:45; then he turned to check Artaxias, king of Armenia. He died in the Persian town Tabes, 164 B.C., as both Polybius and Porphyry agree. Doubtless, antitypically, the final Antichrist, and its predecessor Mohammed, are intended, to whom the language may be more fully applicable than to Antiochus the type. The Saracen Arabs “of the south” “pushed at” the Greek emperor Heraclius, and deprived him of Egypt and Syria. But the Turks of “the north” not merely pushed at, but destroyed the Greek empire; therefore more is said of them than of the Saracens. Their “horsemen” are specified, being their chief strength. Their standards still are horse tails. Their “ships,” too, often gained the victory over Venice, the great naval power of Europe in that day. They “overflowed” Western Asia, and then “passed over” into Europe, fixing their seat of empire at Constantinople under Mohammed II [Newton].

41. Antiochus, according to Porphyry, marching against Ptolemy, though he turned from his course to wreak his wrath on the Jews, did not meddle with Edom, Moab, and Ammon on the side of Judea. In 1 Maccabees 4:61; 5:3; &c., it is stated that he used their help in crushing the Jews, of whom they were the ancient enemies. Compare Isa 11:14, as to Israel’s future retribution, just as the Maccabees made war on them as the friends of Antiochus (1 Maccabees 5:1-68). Antitypically, the Turks under Selim entered Jerusalem on their way to Egypt, and retain “the glorious land” of Palestine to this day. But they never could conquer the Arabs, who are akin to Edom, Moab, and Ammon (Ge 16:12). So in the case of the final Antichrist.

42, 43. Egypt … Libyans … Ethiopians—The latter two, being the allies of the first, served under Antiochus when he conquered Egypt. Antitypically, Egypt, though it held out long under the Mamelukes, in A.D. 1517 fell under the Turks. Algiers, Tunis, and other parts of Africa, are still under them.

at his steps—following him (Ex 11:8, Margin; Jud 4:10).

44. tidings out of the east and out of the north—Artaxias, king of Armenia, his vassal, had revolted in the north, and Arsaces, leader of the Parthians, in the east (1 Maccabees 3:10, &c., 1 Maccabees 3:37; Tacitus, Histories, 5.8). In 147 B.C. Antiochus went on the expedition against them, on the return from which he died.

great fury—at the Jews, on account of their successes under Judas Maccabeus, whence he desired to replenish his treasury with means to prosecute the war with them; also at Artaxias and Arsaces, and their respective followers. De Burgh makes the “tidings” which rouse his fury, to be concerning the Jews’ restoration; such may be the antitypical reference.

45. plant … between the seas—the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean.

tabernacles of … palace—his palace-like military tents, such as Oriental princes travel with. See on [1109]Da 11:40, as to the time of Antiochus’ attack on Judea, and his subsequent “end” at Tabes, which was caused by chagrin both at hearing that his forces under Lysias were overcome by the Jews, and at the failure of his expedition against the temple of Elymais (2 Maccabees 9:5).

holy mountain—Jerusalem and Mount Zion. The desolation of the sanctuary by Antiochus, and also the desecration of the consecrated ground round Jerusalem by the idolatrous Roman ensigns, as also by the Mohammedan mosque, and, finally, by the last Antichrist, are referred to. So the last Antichrist is to sit upon “the mount of the congregation” (Isa 14:13), but “shall be brought down to hell” (compare Note, see on [1110]Da 7:26; 2Th 2:8)

Daniel 12:11

7. held up … right … and … left hand—Usually the right hand was held up in affirmation as an appeal to heaven to attest the truth (De 32:40; Re 10:5, 6). Here both hands are lifted up for the fuller confirmation.

time, times, and a half—(See on [1111]Da 7:25). Newton, referring this prophecy to the Eastern apostasy, Mohammedanism, remarks that the same period of three and a half years, or 1260 prophetic days, is assigned to it as the Western apostasy of the little horn (Da 7:25); and so, says Prideaux, Mohammed began to forge his imposture, retiring to his cave, A.D. 606, the very year that Phocas made the grant to the bishop of Rome, whence he assumed the title, The Universal Pastor; Antichrist thus setting both his feet on Christendom together, the one in the East, and the other in the West. Three and a half is the time of the world power, in which the earthly kingdoms rule over the heavenly [Auberlen]. “Three and a half” represents the idea of spiritual trial; (besides this certain symbolical meaning, there is doubtless an accurate chronological meaning, which is as yet to us uncertain): it is half of “seven,” the complete number, so a semi-perfect state, one of probation. The holy city is trodden by the Gentiles forty-two months (Re 11:2), so the exercise of the power of the beast (Re 13:5). The two witnesses preach in sackcloth 1260 days, and remained unburied three days and a half: so the woman in the wilderness: also the same for a “time, times, and a half” (Re 11:3, 9, 11; 12:6, 14). Forty-two connects the Church with Israel, whose haltings in the wilderness were forty-two (Nu 33:1-50). The famine and drought on Israel in Elijah’s days were for “three years and six months” (Lu 4:25; Jas 5:17); there same period as Antiochus’ persecution: so the ministry of the Man of Sorrows, which ceased in the midst of a week (Da 9:27) [Wordsworth, Apocalypse].

scatter … holy people—”accomplished” here answers to “the consummation” (Da 9:27), namely, the “pouring out” of the last dregs of the curse on the “desolated holy people.” Israel’s lowest humiliation (the utter “scattering of her power”) is the precursor of her exaltation, as it leads her to seek her God and Messiah (Mt 23:39).

Matthew 24:15


Mt 24:1-51. Christ’s Prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem, and Warnings Suggested by It to Prepare for His Second Coming. ( = Mr 13:1-37; Lu 21:5-36).

For the exposition, see on [1355]Mr 13:1-37.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12



Its GENUINENESS is attested by Polycarp [Epistle to the Philippians, 11], who alludes to 2Th 3:15. Justin Martyr [Dialogue with Trypho, p. 193.32], alludes to 2Th 2:3. Irenæus [Against Heresies, 7.2] quotes 2Th 2:8. Clement of Alexandria [Miscellanies, 1.5, p. 554; The Instructor, 1.17], quotes 2Th 3:2, as Paul’s words. Tertullian [On the Resurrection of the Flesh, 24] quotes 2Th 2:1, 2, as part of Paul’s Epistle.

Design.—The accounts from Thessalonica, after the sending of the first Epistle, represented the faith and love of the Christians there as on the increase; and their constancy amidst persecutions unshaken. One error of doctrine, however, resulting in practical evil, had sprung up among them. The apostle’s description of Christ’s sudden second coming (1Th 4:13, &c., and 1Th 5:2), and the possibility of its being at any time, led them to believe it was actually at hand. Some professed to know by “the Spirit” (2Th 2:2) that it was so; and others alleged that Paul had said so when with them. A letter, too, purporting to be from the apostle to that effect, seems to have been circulated among them. (That 2Th 2:2 refers to such a spurious letter, rather than to Paul’s first Epistle, appears likely from the statement, 2Th 3:17, as to his autograph salutation being the mark whereby his genuine letters might be known). Hence some neglected their daily business and threw themselves on the charity of others, as if their sole duty was to wait for the coming of the Lord. This error, therefore, needed rectifying, and forms a leading topic of the second Epistle. He in it tells them (2Th 2:1-17), that before the Lord shall come, there must first be a great apostasy, and the Man of Sin must be revealed; and that the Lord’s sudden coming is no ground for neglecting daily business; that to do so would only bring scandal on the Church, and was contrary to his own practice among them (2Th 3:7-9), and that the faithful must withdraw themselves from such disorderly professors (2Th 3:6, 10-15). Thus, there are three divisions of the Epistle: (1) 2Th 1:1-12. Commendations of the Thessalonians’ faith, love, and patience, amidst persecutions. (2) 2Th 2:1-17. The error as to the immediate coming of Christ corrected, and the previous rise and downfall of the Man of Sin foretold. [RAPTURE ERROR CORRECTED BY PAUL] (3) 2Th 3:1-16. Exhortations to orderly conduct in their whole walk, with prayers for them to the God of peace, followed by his autograph salutation and benediction.

Date of writing.—As the Epistle is written in the joint names of Timothy and Silas, as well as his own, and as these were with him while at Corinth, and not with him for a long time subsequently to his having left that city (compare Ac 18:18, with Ac 19:22; indeed, as to Silas, it is doubtful whether he was ever subsequently with Paul), it follows, the place of writing must have been Corinth, and the date, during the one “year and six months” of his stay there, Act 18:11 (namely, beginning with the autumn of A.D. 52, and ending with the spring of A.D. 54), say about six months after his first Epistle, early in A.D. 53.

Style.—The style is not different from that of most of Paul’s other writings, except in the prophetic portion of it (2Th 2:1-12), which is distinguished from them in subject matter. As is usual in his more solemn passages (for instance, in the denunciatory and prophetic portions of his Epistles, for example, compare Col 2:8, 16, with 2Th 2:3; 1Co 15:24-28, with 2Th 2:8, 9; Ro 1:18, with 2Th 2:8, 10), his diction here is more lofty, abrupt, and elliptical. As the former Epistle dwells mostly on the second Advent in its aspect of glory to the sleeping and the living saints (1Th 4:1-5:28), so this Epistle dwells mostly on it in its aspect of everlasting destruction to the wicked and him who shall be the final consummation of wickedness, the Man of Sin. So far was Paul from laboring under an erroneous impression as to Christ’s speedy coming, when he wrote his first Epistle (which rationalists impute to him), that he had distinctly told them, when he was with them, the same truths as to the apostasy being about first to arise, which he now insists upon in this second Epistle (2Th 2:5). Several points of coincidence occur between the two Epistles, confirming the genuineness of the latter. Thus, compare 2Th 3:2, with 1Th 2:15, 16; again, 2Th 2:9, the Man of Sin “coming after the working of Satan,” with 1Th 2:18; 3:5, where Satan’s incipient work as the hinderer of the Gospel, and the tempter, appears; again, mild warning is enjoined, 1Th 5:14; but, in this second Epistle, when the evil had grown worse, stricter discipline (2Th 3:6, 14): “withdraw from” the “company” of such.

Paul probably visited Thessalonica on his way to Asia subsequently (Ac 20:4), and took with him thence Aristarchus and Secundus: the former became his “companion in travel” and shared with him his perils at Ephesus, also those of his shipwreck, and was his “fellow prisoner” at Rome (Ac 27:2; Col 4:10; Phm 24). According to tradition he became bishop of Apamea.


2Th 1:1-12. Address and Salutation: Introduction: Thanksgiving for Their Growth in Faith and Love, and for Their Patience in Persecutions, Which Are a Token for Good Everlasting to Them, and for Perdition to Their Adversaries at Christ’s Coming: Prayer for Their Perfection.

1. in God our Father—still more endearing than the address, 1Th 1:1 “in God THE Father.”

2. from God our Father—So some oldest manuscripts read. Others omit “our.”

3. We are bound—Greek, “We owe it as a debt” (2Th 2:13). They had prayed for the Thessalonians (1Th 3:12) that they might “increase and abound in love”; their prayer having been heard, it is a small but a bounden return for them to make, to thank God for it. Thus, Paul and his fellow missionaries practice what they preach (1Th 5:18). In 1Th 1:3, their thanksgiving was for the Thessalonians’ faith, love, and patience”; here, for their exceeding growth in faith, and for their charity abounding. “We are bound” expresses the duty of thanksgiving from its subjective side as an inward conviction. “As it is meet,” from the objective: side as something answering to the state of circumstances [Alford]. Observe the exact correspondence of the prayer (1Th 3:12, “The Lord make you to abound in love”) and the answer, “The love of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth” (compare 1Th 4:10).


4. glory in you—make our boast of you, literally, “in your case.” “Ourselves” implies that not merely did they hear others speaking of the Thessalonians’ faith, but they, the missionaries themselves, boasted of it. Compare 1Th 1:8, wherein the apostle said, their faith was so well known in various places, that he and his fellow missionaries had no need to speak of it; but here he says, so abounding is their love, combined with faith and patience, that he and his fellow missionaries themselves, make it a matter of glorying in the various churches elsewhere (he was now at Corinth in Achaia, and boasted there of the faith of the Macedonian churches, 2Co 10:15-17; 8:1, at the same time giving the glory to the Lord), not only looking forward to glorying thereat at Christ’s coming (1Th 2:19), but doing so even now.

patience—in 1Th 1:3, “patience of hope.” Here hope is tacitly implied as the ground of their patience; 2Th 1:5, 7 state the object of their hope, namely, the kingdom for which they suffer.

tribulations—literally, “pressures.” The Jews were the instigators of the populace and of the magistrates against Christians (Ac 17:6, 8).

which ye endure—Greek, “are (now) enduring.”

5. Which—Your enduring these tribulations is a “token of the righteous judgment of God,” manifested in your being enabled to endure them, and in your adversaries thereby filling up the measure of their guilt. The judgment is even now begun, but its consummation will be at the Lord’s coming. David (Ps 73:1-14) and Jeremiah (Jer 12:1-4) were perplexed at the wicked prospering and the godly suffering. But Paul, by the light of the New Testament, makes this fact a matter of consolation. It is a proof (so the Greek) of the future judgment, which will set to rights the anomalies of the present state, by rewarding the now suffering saint, and by punishing the persecutor. And even now “the Judge of all the earth does right” (Ge 18:25); for the godly are in themselves sinful and need chastisement to amend them. What they suffer unjustly at the hands of cruel men they suffer justly at the hands of God; and they have their evil things here that they may escape condemnation with the world and have their good things hereafter (Lu 16:25; 1Co 11:32) [Edmunds].

that ye may be counted worthy—expressing the purpose of God’s “righteous judgment” as regards you.

for which—Greek, “in behalf of which ye are also suffering” (compare Ac 5:41; 9:16; Php 1:29). “Worthy” implies that, though men are justified by faith, they shall be judged “according to their works” (Re 20:12; compare 1Th 2:12; 1Pe 1:6, 7; Re 20:4). The “also” implies the connection between the suffering for the kingdom and being counted worthy of it. Compare Ro 8:17, 18.

6. seeing it is a righteous thing—This justifies the assertion above of there being a “righteous judgment” (2Th 1:5), namely, “seeing that it is (literally, ‘if at least,’ ‘if at all events it is’) a righteous thing with (that is, in the estimation of) God” (which, as we all feel, it certainly is). Our own innate feeling of what is just, in this confirms what is revealed.

recompense—requite in kind, namely, tribulation to them that trouble you (affliction to those that afflict you); and to you who are troubled, rest from trouble.

7. the mystery of iniquity—the counterwork to “the mystery of godliness” (1Ti 3:16). Anti-Christianity latently working, as distinguished from its final open manifestation. “Mystery” in Scripture means, not what remains always a secret, but that which is for a while hidden, but in due time manifested (compare Eph 3:4, 5). Satan will resort to a mode of opposition more conformed to the then imminent “appearing” and “presence” of the Saviour, and will anticipate Him with a last effort to maintain the dominion of the world [De Burgh], just as at His first advent he rushed into open opposition, by taking possession of the bodies of men. “Iniquity,” Greek, “lawlessness”; defiant rejection of God’s law (compare Note, see on [2455] Zec 5:9, Zec 5:10). “Wickedness” (translated by the Septuagint by the same Greek, meaning “lawlessness,” which Paul employs here), embodied there as a woman, answers to “the mystery of iniquity,” here embodied finally in “the man of sin”: as the former was ultimately banished for ever from the Holy Land to her own congenial soil, Babylon, so iniquity and the man of sin shall fall before Michael and the Lord Himself, who shall appear as the Deliverer of His people (Da 12:1-3; Zec 14:3-9). Compare Mt 12:43. The Jewish nation dispossessed of the evil spirit, the demon of idolatry being cast out through the Babylonian captivity, receives ultimately a worse form of the evil spirit, Christ-opposing self-righteousness. Also, the Christian Church in course of time taken possession of by the demon of Romish idolatry, then dispossessed of it by the Reformation, then its house “garnished” by hypocrisy, secularity, and rationalism, but “swept empty” of living faith, then finally apostatizing and repossessed by “the man of sin,” and outwardly destroyed for a brief time (though even then Christ shall have witnesses for Him among both the Jews, Zec 13:9, and Gentiles, Mt 28:20), when Christ shall suddenly come (Da 11:32-45; Lu 18:7, 8).

already—(2Jo 9, 10; Col 2:18-23; 1Ti 4:1); compare “even now already” (1Jo 2:18; 4:3) as distinguished from “in his own time” of being revealed hereafter. Antiquity, it appears from hence, is not a justification for unscriptural usages or dogmas, since these were “already,” even in Paul’s time, beginning to spring up: the written word is the only sure test. “Judaism infecting Christianity is the fuel; the mystery of iniquity is the spark.” “It is one and the same impurity diffusing itself over many ages” [Bengel].

only he who now letteth will let—The italicized words are not in the Greek. Therefore, translate rather, “only (that is, the continuance of the MYSTERY of iniquity-working will be only) until he who now withholdeth (the same Greek as in 2Th 2:6) be taken out of the way.” “Only (waiting, Heb 10:13) until he,” &c. Then it will work no longer in mystery, but in open manifestation.

8. Translate, “the lawless one”; the embodiment of all the godless “lawlessness” which has been working in “mystery” for ages (2Th 2:7): “the man of sin” (2Th 2:3).

whom the Lord—Some of the oldest manuscripts read, “the Lord Jesus.” How awful that He whose very name means God-Saviour, should appear as the Destroyer; but the salvation of the Church requires the destruction of her foe. As the reign of Israel in Canaan was ushered in by judgments on the nations for apostasy (for the Canaanites were originally worshippers of the true God: thus Melchisedek, king of Salem, was the “priest of the most high God,” Ge 14:18: Ammon and Moab came from righteous Lot), so the Son of David’s reign in Zion and over the whole earth, is to be ushered in by judgments on the apostate Christian world.

consume … and … destroy—So Da 7:26, “consume and destroy”; Da 11:45. He shall “consume” him by His mere breath (Isa 11:4; 30:33): the sentence of judgment being the sharp sword that goeth out of His mouth (Re 19:15, 21). Antichrist’s manifestation and destruction are declared in the same breath; at his greatest height he is nearest his fall, like Herod his type (Isa 1:24-27; Ac 12:20-23). As the advancing fire, while still at a distance consumes little insects [Chrysostom] by its mere heat, so Christ’s mere approach is enough to consume Antichrist. The mere “appearance of the coming” of the Lord of glory is sufficient to show to Antichrist his perfect nothingness. He is seized and “cast alive into the take of fire” (Re 19:20). So the world kingdoms, and the kingdom of the beast, give place to that of the Son of man and His saints. The Greek for “destroy” means “abolish” (the same Greek is so translated, 2Ti 1:10); that is, cause every vestige of him to disappear. Compare as to Gog attacking Israel and destroyed by Jehovah (Eze 38:1-39:29), so as not to leave a vestige of him.

with the brightness of his coming—Greek, “the manifestation, (or appearance) of His presence”: the first outburst of His advent—the first gleam of His presence—is enough to abolish utterly all traces of Antichrist, as darkness disappears before the dawning day. Next, his adherents are “slain with the sword out of His mouth” (Re 19:21). Bengel’s distinction between “the appearance of His coming” and the “coming” itself is not justified by 1Ti 6:14; 2Ti 1:10; 4:1, 8; Tit 2:13, where the same Greek for “appearing” (English Version, here “the brightness”) plainly refers to the coming itself. The expression, “manifestation (appearing) of His presence,” is used in awful contrast to the revelation of the wicked one in the beginning of the verse.

9. whose coming—The same Greek as was used for the Lord’s coming (2Th 2:8) or personal “presence.”

is—in its essential character.

after—according to the working (“energy”) of Satan, as opposed to the energy or working of the Holy Spirit in the Church (see on [2456] Eph 1:19). As Christ is related to God, so is Antichrist to Satan, his visible embodiment and manifestation: Satan works through him. Re 13:2, “The dragon gave him (the beast) his power … seat … great authority.”

lying wonders—literally, “wonders” or “prodigies of falsehood.” His “power, signs, and wonders,” all have falsehood for their base, essence, and aim (Joh 8:44), [Alford]. In Mt 24:24 Jesus implies that the miracles shall be real, though demoniac, such mysterious effects of the powers of darkness as we read of in the case of the Egyptian sorcerers, not such as Jesus performed in their character, power, or aim; for they are against the revealed Word, and therefore not to be accepted as evidences of truth; nay, on the authority of that sure Word of prophecy (here, and Mt 24:24), to be known and rejected as wrought in support of falsehood (De 13:1-3, 5; Ga 1:8, 9; Re 13:11-15; 19:20). The same three Greek words occur for miracles of Jesus (Ac 2:22; Heb 2:4); showing that as the Egyptian magicians imitated Moses (2Ti 3:1-8), so Antichrist will try to imitate Christ’s works as a “sign,” or proof of divinity.

10. deceivableness—rather as Greek, “deceit of (to promote) unrighteousness” (2Th 2:12).

in—The oldest manuscripts and versions omit “in.” Translate, “unto them that are perishing” (2Co 2:15, 16; 4:3): the victims of him whose very name describes his perishing nature, “the son of perdition”; in contrast to you whom (2Th 2:13) “God hath from the beginning chosen to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”

because—literally, “in requital for”; in just retribution for their having no love for the truth which was within their reach (on account of its putting a check on their bad passions), and for their having “pleasure in unrighteousness” (2Th 2:12; Ro 1:18); they are lost because they loved not, but rejected, the truth which would have saved them.

received not—Greek, “welcomed not”; admitted it not cordially.

love of the truth—not merely love of truth, but love of THE truth (and of, Jesus who is the Truth, in opposition to Satan’s “lie,” 2Th 2:9, 11; Joh 8:42-44), can save (Eph 4:21). We are required not merely to assent to, but to love the truth (Ps 119:97). The Jews rejected Him who came in His divine Father’s name; they will receive Antichrist coming in his own name (Joh 5:43). Their pleasant sin shall prove their terrible scourge.

11. for this cause—because “they received not the love of the truth.” The best safeguard against error is “the love of the truth.”

shall send—Greek, “sends,” or “is sending”; the “delusion” is already beginning. God judicially sends hardness of heart on those who have rejected the truth, and gives them up in righteous judgment to Satan’s delusions (Isa 6:9, 10; Ro 1:24-26, 28). They first cast off the love of the truth, then God gives them up to Satan’s delusions, then they settle down into “believing the lie”: an awful climax (1Ki 22:22, 23; Eze 14:9; Job 12:16; Mt 24:5, 11; 1Ti 4:1).

strong delusion—Greek, “the powerful working of error,” answering to the energizing “working of Satan” (2Th 2:9); the same expression as is applied to the Holy Ghost’s operation in believers: “powerful” or “effectual (energizing) working” (Eph 1:19).

believe a lie—rather, “the lie” which Antichrist tells them, appealing to his miracles as proofs of it … (2Th 2:9).

12. they all … damned—rather as Greek, “that all,” &c. He here states the general proposition which applies specially to Antichrist’s adherents. Not all in the Church of Rome, or other anti-Christian systems, shall be damned, but only “all who believed not the truth,” when offered to them, “but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (Ro 1:32; 2:8). Love of unrighteousness being the great obstacle to believing the truth.




Re 13:1-18. Vision of the Beast that Came Out of the Sea: The Second Beast, Out of the Earth, Exercising the Power of the First Beast, and Causing the Earth to Worship Him.

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 (Da 7:2).

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 Da 7:4-7 there are four beasts: here the one beast expresses the sum-total of the God-opposed world power viewed in its universal development, not restricted to one manifestation alone, as Rome. This first beast expresses the world power attacking the Church more from without; the second, which is a revival of, and minister to, the first, is the world power as the false prophet corrupting and destroying the Church from within.

out of the sea—(Da 7:3; compare Note, see on [2718]Re 8:8); out of the troubled waves of peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. The earth (Re 13:11), on the other hand, means the consolidated, ordered world of nations, with its culture and learning.

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

crowns—Greek, “diadems.”

name of blasphemy—So C, Coptic, and Andreas. A, B, and Vulgate read, “names of blasphemy,” namely, a name on each of the heads; blasphemously arrogating attributes belonging to God alone (compare Note, see on [2719]Re 17:3). A characteristic of the little horn in Da 7:8, 20, 21; 2Th 2:4.Revelation 13:1-10 A beast with seven heads and ten horns riseth out of

the sea, to whom the dragon giveth his power,

wherewith he blasphemeth God, and vexeth the saints.

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

supporteth the worship of the former beast.

Revelation 13:18 The number of the beast.

Chapter Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 (Re 12:9). “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 emphatically (Re 13:12, 14); compare Re 17:8, 11, “the beast that was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit” (compare Re 13:11); the Germanic empire, the seventh head (revived in the eighth), as yet future in John’s time (Re 17:10). 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 (Da 7:4). 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 [2720]Re 5:6. Compare also the second beast’s resemblance to the Lamb, Re 13:11). Though seemingly slain (Greek for “wounded”), it remains the beast still, to rise again in another form (Re 13:11). 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 Christianity (Re 11:15, 16), became itself Christianized (answering to the beast’s, as it were, deadly wound: it was slain, and it is not, Re 17:11). Its ascent out of the bottomless pit answers to the healing of its deadly wound (Re 17:8). 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 hell (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, Mt 12:43-45. 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 (compare Re 17:11); 2Th 2:3; compare 2Ti 3:1-4, the very characteristics of old heathenism (Ro 1:29-32) [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 (Re 13:11), 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; its authority.

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

to continue—Greek, “poiesai,” “to act,” or “work.” B reads, “to make war” (compare Re 13:4). But A, C, Vulgate, Syriac, and Andreas omit “war.”

forty … two month—(See on [2721]Re 11:2, 3; [2722] Re 12:6).

6. opened … mouth—The usual formula in the case of a set speech, or series of speeches. Re 13:6, 7 expand Re 13:5.

blasphemy—So B and Andreas. A and C read “blasphemies.”

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 [2723]Re 12:12; [2724] Joh 3:7.

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 Re 17:8. 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” [Bishop Pearson, Exposition of the Creed].

9. A general exhortation. Christ’s own words of monition calling solemn attention.

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 captivity.” Compare Jer 15:2, which is alluded to here. Aleph, B, and C read simply, “he goeth away,” and omit “into captivity.” But A and Vulgate support the words.

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 faith (Re 13:10), the second beast must be opposed by true wisdom (Re 13:18).

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 horns, Re 5:6). 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 revival (Re 13:12-14). 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 (Re 13:5), but also “the eyes of man” (Da 7:8): 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” (Re 13:13-15; Re 16:14). 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 first beast (Re 13:2), his spirit to the second, so that it speaks as a dragon (Re 13:11). 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 temptation, 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 do.”

in the sight of the beast—”before him” (Re 13:12).

which—A, B, and C read, “who”; marking, perhaps, a personal Antichrist.

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, Re 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, 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 servants, Re 7:3; 14:1; 22:4; and Ga 6:17, “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 meaning.


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 Re 21:17. 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 “one language” (Zep 3:9). 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, Mt 22:20). 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].