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The beast with seven heads] REVELATION.
ND I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and
[and ten horns,
they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
5 And there was given unto hima mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the
EXPOSITION-Chap. XII. Continued.
eagles' wings, to her refuge in the wilderness, during the reign of Antichrist, and the testimony of the witnesses; all being confined to the same period of 1260 days, or years; or, as expressed in verse 14, for a time, and times, and half a time, i. e. three prophetic years and a half.
Now, when the Old Serpent found that he was disappointed of his prey by the flight of the church into the wilderness, he poured forth after her a flood, whether of temptation, affliction, or persecution, all of which are compared to waters; from his doing this, however, it should seem that he was not aware that she had received wings from heaven. By the earth swallowing up those floods, may, perhaps, be intended the assistance and protection that the church oftentimes receives from worldly
the sacred writers, and especially the pro phets, do not, we know, pay that attention to method and order, which we find in modern compositions; and these flights of the church are so exactly similar, that, with Archdeacon Woodhouse, we are satisfied of their being the same.
There is a like difference among exposi tors, as to the "war in heaven;" some supposing it to refer directly and solely to the first fall of Satan and the rebel hosts, so circumstantially described by Miles (Par. Lost, book i.); and others considering it only as an allusion to that event, but referring more directly to the affairs of the Christian church; and that this was the real case, we think evident from the song of triumph sung on this occasion, by which it appears that the victors were not augels, strictly speaking, but the redeemed, who" overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; who loved not their lives even to the death," which can never be said of angels.
Ver. 2. His seut-Gr. "his throne," as before. Ver. 5. To continue-Marg. " to make war." Ver. 8. Whose names are not written, &c. Doddr. "Whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb, who was slain, from the foundation of the world." In the parallel passage,
ch. xvii. 8, it is said, "whose names are not written in the book of life, from the foundation of the world." So, in this place, the Unitarian version reads
was not written from the foundation of the world, in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain." Which Dr. Pye Smith pronounces “a just tran lation." Messiah, vol. ii. p. 156,
The beast with two horns]
Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.
10 He that leadeth into captivity
[like a lamb.
shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. (X)
11 ¶ And I beheld another beast
(X) Ver. 1-10. Concerning this first beast, there seems to be a better agreement among Protestant commentators than on most other parts of the Apocalypse and Mr. Fuller (as usual) speaks with so much perspicuity and moderation, that we shall offer an abstract of his interpretation, and chiefly in his own words, in preference to quoting any preceding writer. He remarks, "The apostle, in vision, standing as upon the sea shore, sees a 'beast [i. e. a monster] rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his crowns the name (or names) of blasphemy.' A beast rising out of the sea, is an empire opposed to God and his Christ, rising out of the perturbed state of things in the world. The description given of this beast (Mr. F. thinks) leaves no doubt of its being the same as the fourth beast in Daniel," chap. vii., to our Notes and Exposition of which, we must beg leave therefore to refer our readers; adding, that whereas Daniel saw three previous beasts, a lion, a bear, and a leopard, all which had in St. John's time passed away, and had been absorbed in the Roman beast; John describes this beast as compounded of those three, having the body of a leopard, the paws of a bear, and the mouth (or teeth) of a lion. Daniel also says nothing of its seven heads,
nor of the crowns attached to the horns, which, in the time of John, had not become separate kingdoms.
"This seven-headed and ten-horned beast (says Mr. Fuller) does not appear to be the Pope or Popedom, nor the church of Rome, but that secular power which has supported the church of Rome through the whole of her corrupt and bloody progress. The beast is not the harlot, but that on which the harlot rides. That which has been denominated The Holy Roman Empire, of which sometimes a French, and sometimes a German monarch, has been the head, seems to be the government principally intended, as being the great support of that church. It is not this government, however, exclusive of that of the other European nations, but merely as a principal amongst them. The ten horns are said to agree, and to give their kingdom to the beast' (chap. xvii. 17); that is, they united with the Emperor in supporting the church. Things were so managed, indeed, by the (Roman) church, that the rulers of every nation in Christendom were, in a manner, compelled to unite in her support. All the civil powers were obliged by the Council of Lateran to take
an oath, on pain of ecclesiastical censures, 'that they would endeavour to exterminate all who were declared heretics by the 'church, out of their dominions: and if
Ver. 10. He that leadeth, &c.-Compare Isaiah xxxiii. 1; Matt. xxvi. 52.
Ver. 11. Another beast.-Many explain this second beast, which is also called "the false prophet" (chap. xix. 20), to be Mahomet, or Mahonetanism; and Dr. Woodhouse connects Popery and Mahometanism, as the two horns of the Antichristian beast-east and west-and, it must be admitted, both arose about the same time, i. e. early in the 7th century. This second beast, however, is represented as fully co-operating with the first; whereas history informs us that Popery and Mahometanism never acted in conjunction, but always in opposition.
Ibid. He had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.-On this passage, Archdeacon Woodsome very respectable modern writers, to represent "It has been a favourite object with the infidel democratic power, which appeared at one time to spring up with the French Revolution, as fulfilling this prophecy of the false prophet. I will propose a few reasons to show why it cannot be so. 1. The horns like a lamb denote an ecclesiastical
power: but the French power is wholly civil, and it imposes no religion on the conquered.-2. There are in this infidel attempt no pretended miracles, or heavenly commission, no fire from heaven.'-3. The French have, indeed, set up an image, a lively representation of the ancient tyrannies; but it is not pronounced sacred, nor is its worship enforced: they require no more than other political conquerors, submission to their civil sceptre; they do not prosecute for religion's sake.-4. There is good reason to believe, that as the two beasts are to perish together (chap. xix. 20), so their period being of the same length, that they arose together."-Woodhouse on the Apoc. p. 363.
On the same subject, Mr. Fuller says, "I see no solid ground for Mr. Faber's hypothesis of an Infidel King, any more than of an Infidel Antichrist. What is said of the scoffers of the last times, is, indeed, descriptive of what we daily witness; but it is only of individuals that these things are spoken. Infidelity does not appear to be symbolized in the Scriptures, either by a beast, a horn, or a king.-Disc. on Apoc. p. 260.
'any prince or ruler refused to do so, after admonition, it was to be certified to the Pope, who should declare all his subjects absolved from their allegiance, and any Catholic was free to seize his dominions.'" Whereas it is said, also, that the dragon, that is, the old serpent, who was the demon of Paganism, in all its variety of idolatrous forms, "gave his power (his throne, and great authority) to the beast," we may by that understand, that Satan himself is the spirit by which every system of idolatry is animated and supported.
Of the heads and horns of the beast, we shall have occasion to speak again on chap. xvii.; but when it is here stated, that one of his heads was wounded, we must under stand it as referring to one of the kingdoms, or forms of government, under which the empire had subsisted (as explained in chap. xvii. 8), namely, the Imperial, which was wounded in Augustulus, and healed in Charlemagne; or, as others explain it, wounded in the fall of Paganism, and healed in the rise of Popery: for the demon of Paganism (that is, the devil) now inspired "the Holy Roman Empire" above named, with the same spirit of persecution, and to a greater degree of fury.
It is now said (ver. 4), "And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast." Dragon, or serpent-worship, has been carried to an awful enormity in the Pagan world. The learned Mr. Bryant thinks" it prevailed almost universally in the Eastern world, and names many countries which adopted it, particularly Egypt." There were also some mongrel Christians, who were called Ophites, or Serpentarians; perhaps because they reverenced the brazen serpent as a type of Christ; but others, as we fear, who renounced Christ, and preferred to him the old serpent himself. (See Dict. of all Religions, in Ophites.)
But serpent worship was carried to its highest pitch of extravagance and crudy in Old Mexico, South America, of which the most appalling proofs have been within these few years exhibited by Mr. Bulle at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly; where, with the great serpentine idol, sixty feet long, was also shown the vast sacri ficial stone on which they offered numero humau victims, wherein was visible t channels in which the blood that wa shed flowed. And serpents are still wor shipped by the Negroes in some parts of Africa, as emblems of the devil, that he may not hurt them. Such is the infatuation of mankind in worshipping the dragon!
"And there was given unto him a mout speaking great things and blasphemies In fact, all boasting, in the sight of God, is blasphemy. It is attributing to ourselve the power, and wisdom, or goodness, which belongs to God: as when Nebuchadneza said " Is not this great Babylon that have built.... by the might of my power, and for the honour of my Majesty !" Vain and unhappy mortal! while the words were in his mouth, the kingdom departed from him! Such was the boasting lan guage of Rome, both ancient and modera, Pagan and Papal; and names of blasphemy were incorporated in the imperial title, as afterwards in that of the Popes of Rome, as we shall have occasion to remark on a subsequent chapter.
It is worthy our observation, that the worshipping of the dragon and the sevenheaded beast is confined to those "whose names are not written in the book of life." There were some true Christians in every age who protested against idolatry, and the tyranny of Rome over the consciences of mankind.
NOTES-Chap. XIII. Con.
Ver. 13. Maketh fire come down.-An allusion, probably, to 2 Kings i. 10--12.
Ver. 14. That they should make an image to the beast.-Some have explained this, as if this second beast was itself the image of the former, which
seems to us not to agree with the text. Dr. Middleton, however, in his celebrated Letter from Rome, has drawn a striking parallel between them, that is, between Paganism and Popery, in a great variety of particulars. There, he remarks, we may
(Y) Ver. 11-18. A second beast rises from the earth with two horns, like a lamb. -The first beast rose out of a tempest in the sea, as dolphins and other fishes are known to do-that is, it arose out of a state of general and tremendous warfare: this second beast sprung up, as Mr. Fuller expresses it," like a weed in a garden," quietly and almost unobserved. This beast had "two horns like a lamb," and answers to the little horn in Daniel (chap. vii. ver. 20, 21), "which had a mouth that spake
see the present people of Rome worshipping at this day in the same temples-at the same altarsSometimes the same images-and [almost] with the same ceremonies, as the old Romans: they must have more charity, as well as skill in distinguishing, than 1 pretend to (says the Doctor), who can absolve them from the same crime of superstition and idolatry with their Pagan ancestors."
Ver. 15. To give life-Marg. "breath." Greek, Pneuma, which is either breath or spirit. Should be killed-The penalty of denying the divine authority of the church of Rome was always death, and the object of the Inquisition was to enforce this penalty; and in countries where that was not established, the Popish clergy often supplied that" lack of service."
Ver. 16. To receive (Gr. " to give ") a mark, &c. "We must understand (says Bishop Newton) that it was customary among the ancients, for servants to receive the mark of their masters, and soldiers, of their general; and those who were devoted to any particular deity, of the particular deity to whom they were devoted. These marks were usually impressed on their right hand, or on their foreheads,' and consisted of some hieroglyphic characters, or of the name expressed in vulgar letters, or of the name disguised in numerical letters, according to the fancy of the imposer.
Ver. 17. No man might buy or sell.-This was an ancient form of persecution. Thus the Jews were persecuted by the heathen. Dr. Prideaux says, Ptolemy Philopater forbad any to enter into his palace, who did not sacrifice to the gods he worshipped, thereby excluding them from all legal protection, and be afterwards ordered all the Jews who applied to be enrolled as citizens of Alexandria, to have the form of an ivy leaf (the badge of
Bacchus) to be impressed upon them with a hot iron, under pain of death. (Prid. Connect. ante c. 216.) So Bishop Newton remarks, that William the Conqueror would not allow any to buy or sell, who refused obedience to the Apostolic See; and Pope Alexander III. forbad any one to traffic with the Waldenses. So also the Council of Constance forbids heretics to "enter into contracts, or commerce, &c. with Christians."
Ver. 18. Here is wisdom.-Bishop Newton remarks, "It was a method practised among the ancients, to denote names by numbers; as the name of Thouth, the Egyptian Mercury, by the number 1218; Jupiter, by 737, &c. This led some, even in the first century of Christianity, as mentioned by renæus, to interpret this number 666, by the name Lateinos, the Latin man, or church, so called, because in all countries its services are held in the Latin language. The Greeks, it should be remarked, used all their letters as numerals, in manner following :
authority invested the ecclesiastical with power, and riches, and honour, so, in return, the ecclesiastical authority adds the influence with which the sanction of religion seems to invest him, to the civil power, which he obtains and exercises under the Roman beast. Thus armed
with twofold authority, he employs it in support of the power which he has obtained; and to secure reverence and obedience to that power, he sets it up as sacred." (Dr. Woodhouse.)
Having assumed a sacred character, he affects to work miracles-" he doth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth." So it was foretold of "the Man of sin," which we take to be the same apostate power, that he should perform "signs and lying wonders," and that many who "received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved," should, in the righteous judgment of God, be given up to strong delusions, that they should "believe a lie," and perish. It is, indeed, a most striking fact, that many who have rejected the benevolent miracles of the gospel, have been deceived by the pretended miracles of false prophets and false apostles, and perished in their error. This was particularly the case with the Jews who crucified the Lord Jesus, and perished by thousands for their adherence to Barcochebas, and other false Messiahs.
This second beast proposed to make an image to the first, to which, being made, he gave both life and speech. So the Pagan priests of old pretended to animate and inspire their idols, and assisted them to give oracular answers in their temples: and Mr. Ward (late Missionary in India) informs us, that "the Brahmins, by repeated incantations, profess to give eyes and a soul to an image before it is worshipped." (Orient. Lit. No. 1584.) Agree
ably to this, we know that many Popish monks and priests have attempted to anmate their crucifixes and Virgin Marys; and still, to this day, delude thousands. But what is meant by this image?
"This making of an image to the beast, seems to allude to the heathen practice of making images to their deities. ..... The design of making an image to a God, would be to acknowledge him as their deity, and to give a visibility and an establishment: his worship: .... to require implicit obedience to his commands, in whose reig Paganism was revived, under the name of Catholic Christianity!"..So Mr. Fuller, who adds-" It has been observed, that while the secular beast is said to make war upon the saints, the ecclesiastical is only said to cause them to be killed" (ver. 15).— "The Inquisitors (says Bishop Burnet; va this occasion, with a disgusting affectation of lamb-like meekness, are wont to beseech the civil magistrates to shew mercy to those whom they themselves have given up to be consigned to the flames!"
This last remark leads us to another interpretation. Some have supposed that this beast represents a third distinct powernamely, the religious orders of Popery, and especially the Jesuits. But Dr. Dod dridge hints at the Inquisition as the truest image of the beast. The Rev. Mr. Craig has lately advocated this opinion with much ingenuity, and the resemblance is too striking to be denied, except by those whose interest will not allow them to admit it. "The three characteristics of the Papacy were (says Mr. C.), its assumption of superiority to all earthly power, its persecution, and the suppression of the Scriptures; and those were the more remarkable, as no other power or sorereignty had ever before asserted such prerogatives. The Inquisition asserted them all, with, however, an acknowledg ment of deriving its right to the assertion
CHAP. XIV. Ver. 1. Mount Sion.-This must not be taken literally, as that formed but a part of Jerusalem, and would hold no such number of persons; but this evidently refers to the Christian church. See Hebrews xii. 22, 23.
Ver. 2. As the voice of many waters.-The sound here mentioned is compared to the roaring of the sea, and the thunder of the heavens, for its marmtude, and for its harmony to a concert of a thousand harps.