« PreviousContinue »
thus did he succeed in producing her most successful enemy out of her own bosom. This becomes the subject of the next chapter.
On consulting the writings of the commentators most approved in this country, I find, that by the dragon is generally understood the pagan and persecuting power of Imperial Rome. But, I trust, a few observations will shew the fallacy of this notion.
Where an interpretation is expressly given in the vision, as in ch. i. 20; v. 6, 9; xvii. 7. &c.; that interpretation must be used as the key to the mystery, in preference to all interpretations suggested by the imagination of man. Now in the 9th verse of this chapter such an interpretation is presented; the dragon is there expressly declared to be “ that ancient
serpent,” (agzanos, ó ar agan,) called “ the Devil;" known by the name of Alboros in the Greek, and of Satan in the Hebrew ; “ who deceiveth the whole " world.” Here are his names, and his acknowledged character. No words can more completely express them. No Roman emperor, nor succession of emperors, can answer to this description. The same dragon appears again in ch. xx. C. and, as it were, to prevent mistake,) he is there described in the very
But this re-appearance of the same dragon is in a very late period of the Apocalyptic history; long after the expiration of the 1260 days, or years ; and even after the wild-beast and false prophet, (who derive their power from the dragon during this period,) are come to their end. And the
* Ch. xix, 20.
dragon is upon the scene long after these times, and continues in action even at the end of another long period, a period of a thousand years *. pursues his ancient artifices, “ deceiving the nations, ">
horn even till his final catastrophe, in ch. xx. 10, when the warfare of the Church is finished. Can this dragon then be an emperor of Rome? or any race or dynasty of emperors ? Can he be any other than that ancient and eternal enemy of the Christian Church, who in this, as in all other Scriptural accounts, is represented as the original contriver of all the mischief which shall befall it? In this drama, he acts the same consistent part, from beginning to' end. He is introduced to early notice, as warring against the Churcht; as possessing a seat, or throne of power, in a great city inimical to the Christians}; as the author of doctrines corruptive of Religion, which are called “ the depths of Satan.” The evils brought on the Church under the Trumpets, particularly the third and fifth, are ascribed to him.
In the succeeding conflicts, the Church is attacked by his agents; by the wild-beast and false prophets, who derive their power from him; and at length he himself is described, as leading the nations against the camp of the Saints ll. Nothing appears more plain than the meaning of this symbol. The only appearances which may seem to favour the application of it to Imperial Rome are, the seven crowned heads, and the ten horns of the dragon. But the number seven is of great universality: and although seven heads, or seven mountains, are in another prophecy
* Ch. xx.7,
| Ch. ii. 24.
+ Ch. ii. 10. 13.
applied to Rome in a particular sense, which may properly designate that city ; yet, they have a much more ertended and general signification, expressive of the immense influence of Satan in the councils of this world. In a particular sense also, the seven mountains and ten horns of the latter Roman empire are fitly attributed to Satan, because during the period of 1260 years, and perhaps beyond it, he makes use of the Roman empire, its capital city, and ten kings or kingdoms, as the instruments of his successful attack on the Christian Church. Joseph Mede, when he had no favourite hypothesis immediately in view, clearly saw and acknowledged the obvious interpretation of this symbol; and, in one of his learned sermons, has justly described the parties engaged in this spiritual conflict: 1. Satan, and his angels; 2. the woman and her seed * If the Roman emperors are at all concerned in this warfare, it is only as subministrant agents of this arch-enemy of the Church, The dragon therefore appears to me, as he did to Venerable Bede, eleven centuries ago, to be " Dia
bolus, potentiâ terreni regni armatus t.” The worldly agents, whom he principally employs to carry on the warfare thus begun, will be described in the ensuing chapter.
* Mede's Works, p. 236.
+ Bedæ Com. in loc. ;-" the Devil, armed with the power " worldly dominion.”
The Wild-beast from the Sea.
CHAP, xiii. 1-11. 18Και εσάθης επί την 18 And I was stationed 1 And I stood upon the
αμμον της θαλάσ on the sand of the sea. sund of the sea, and 1 σης. Και είδον έκ της | And I saw a wild-beast saw a beast rise up out θαλάσσης θηρίον αrising up out of the
of the sea, having seven ναβαίνον, έχον κέρα
sea, having ten horns heads and ten horns, τα δέκα και κεφαλάς and seven heads, and and upon his horns Saria • iwi Tãy xtupon his ten horns
ten crowns, and upon ράτων αυτα δέκα diadems, and upon his
his heads the name of διαδήμαία, και επί heads names of blas 2 blasphemy. And the τας κεφαλάς αυτά 2 phemy. And the wild beast which I saw was όνομαλα βλασφημί beast, which I saw, was
like unto a leopard, 2 ας. Και το θηρίον και like a leopard; and
and his feet were as είδον, ήν όμοιον παρ
his fect as those of a the feet of a bear, and δάλει, και οι σόδες bear; and his mouth his mouth as the moutli ress deels, , ry To as the mouth of a lion: of a lion: and the draτόμα αυτ8 ως σόμα and the dragon gave
gon gave him his powλέoνο και έδωκεν
and his er, and his seat, and αυτό ο δράκων την
throne, and great au 3 great authority. And δύναμιν αυτέ, και
3 thority. And I saw I saw one of his heads, τον θρόνον αυτέ, και one of his heads as as it were wounded to εξεσίαν μεγάλην. . having been smitten
death; and his deadly 3 Και μίαν εκ των unto death, and his
healed: κεφαλών αυτά ως deadly wound
and all the world wonεσφαγμένην εις θά
healed. And the whole dered after the beast. γάλον και η πληγή earth wondered after 4 And they worshipped To Jaráty autó 4 the wild-beast. And the dragon which gave Asgamumowy kau they worshipped the
power untu the beast : μάσιν όλη η γη
dragon, because he had and they worshipped οπίσω τα θηρία. .
given the power to the the beast, saying, Who 4 Και προσεκύνησαν beast, and they wor is like unto the beast? το δράκονλι, ότι έδω
shipped the beast, say who is able to make κεν την έξεσίαν τω
ing; ~ Who is like 5 war with him? And
9ηρίω, και προσε
“ unto the beast, and there was given unto κύνησαν τα θηρίων, “ who is able to make him a mouth speaking λέγοντες· Τίς όμοιος 5 « war with him?” And
great things, and blasτα θηρίω; και Τίς
there was given to him phemies; and power δύναlαι πολεμήσαι a mouth speaking great was given unto bim to 5 μετ' αυτο; Και things and blasphe continue forty and two εδόθη αυτώ τόμα mies: and there was
6 months. And he openλαλBν μεγάλα και given to him power to ed his mouth in blasβλασφημίας, και continue in action] phemy against God, to εδοθη αυτώ εξεσία forty - two months. blaspheme his name, [σοιήσαι] μήνας | 6 And he opened his and his tabernacle, and τεσσαράκουλα δύο.
mouth for blasphemy them that dwell in hea. 6 Και ήνοιξε το στόμα against God, to blas- 7 ven. And it was given
αυτ8 εις βλασφη pheme bis name, and unto him to make war μίαν προς τον Θεόν,
his tabernacle, [and] with the saints, and to βλασφημήσαι το ό those who dwell in
overcome them; and νομα αυτά, και την 17 heaven. And it was
power was given him σκηνήν αυτέ,[και]τες given him to make war over all kindreds, and εν τω έρανών σκηνών with the saints, and to
tongues, and nations. 7 τας.
Και εδόθη αυ overcome them. And 8 And all that dwell upτω πόλεμον ποιήσαι power was giren to on the earth shall worμεία των αγίων, και
hiin over every tribe, ship him, whose names γικήσαι αυτές και and people, and lan are not written in the εδόθη αυτώ εξεσία guage, and nation:
book of life of the επί πάσαν φυλών και 8 And all who dwell on Lamb, slain from the 8 λαόν και γλώσσας
the earth shall wor foundation of the και έθνος. Και ship biin; they whose 9 world. If any man προσκυνήσεσιν αι name is not written in
have an ear, let him τον τάνλες οι καλοι the book of life of the 10 hear. He that leadeth κανες επί της γης, Lamb, which was sa into captivity, shall go ών και γέγραπται το crificed from the foun
into captivity: be that ονόμα εν τω βιβλια dation of the world. killeth with the sword, της ζωής το αρνία | 9 If any one have an ear, must be killed with τα έσφαγμένα, από 10 let him hear. If any the sword. Here is καλαβολής κόσμε. one leadeth into cap
the patience and the 9 Εί τις έχει ας, ακο
tivity, into captivity faith of saints. 10 σάτω. Εί τις αιχ:
he goes. If any one μαλωσίαν συνάγει, shall slay with the εις αιχμαλωσίαν sword, he must be υπάγει τις εν slain with the sword. μαχαίρα αποκλενεί,
Herein is the patience