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2 And the beast which I saw | feet were as the feet of a bear, was like unto a leopard, and his and his mouth as the mouth of a
horns represent kings. ¶ And upon | his heads the name of blasphemy.· The idea seems to be, that each head bore a frontlet, on which was inscribed a blasphemous title, i. e., an honorary name for the emperors, as if he had said, a name which derogated from the honor and glory of the true God. The source of the imagery here is probably to be sought for in the custom of persons who held distinguished offices having some name, significant of office, rank or duty, engraved upon the frontlets of their mitres or diadems. In the Apocalypse the promise is repeatedly given, that faithful Christians shall be made kings and priests to God; they were to have a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, &c.; Rev. ii. 17; that is, they were to be furnished with a diadem, such as kings and priests are wont to wear. It is certain that the statues of the Roman emperors had inscriptions on them that belong only to God. Divine honors were paid to them, and especially after their death. From facts like these, the beast is represented as having some blasphemous title on each of his heads. (Stuart on xiii. 1.)
are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast;" Rev. xvii. 12. This is further confirmed by the fact, that upon each horn was a crown; as though the revelator wished to say, these dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly, and it had great iron teeth;" vii. 7; or, "the mouth of a lion." There will be no longer any dispute, that the fourth beast in Daniel's vision is the beast of the Apocalypse; and as Daniel's fourth beast arose at the time of the establishment of Christianity, vii. 13, 14, 22—27, and as the Roman Empire was then in its highest and most glorious condition, there can be no doubt that the beast of the Apocalypse represents the Roman Empire in its secular power. ¶ The dragon gave him his power, &c. - In what sense did the dragon, or the priestly pagan influence, give power to the beast, the secular authority? It is a fact too notorious to be for one moment denied, that false spiritual teachers have always given strength to those secular rulers, however corrupt, who winked at their iniquities and interfered not with their designs. In the history of the Jews this fact is distinctly seen. The false priests exerted their power to keep the people in subjection to bad rulers. "A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so; and what will ye do in the end thereof?" Jer. v. 30, 31. The prophets uttered lies, and the priests ruled the people, indirectly perhaps, and the people were
2. Like unto à leopard, &c.— Here again is a proof that the revelator drew his figure from Daniel; for Daniel's four beasts were, first, a lion; second, a bear; third, a leopard; and the fourth, a sort of inde- infatuated and deceived that they scribable animal, partaking of the loved the oppression. The manner qualities of all. And hence the reve-in which the iniquity of priests served lator says, that the beast he saw rise to sustain the wickedness of secular from the sea, (Daniel's beasts all rose rulers, is set forth by Micah, iii. 10— from the sea; vii. 3, 4,) was like unto 12, as follows: 66 They build up a leopard, a bear, and a lion. He Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with
seemed to combine the strength and ferocity of all. The leopard has great agility; the bear's strength is in his feet and legs; the lion's is in his mouth; and well said Daniel, therefore, that the "fourth beast was
lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority:
3 And I saw one of his heads dered after the beast.
iniquity. The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money yet will they lean upon the Lord, and say, Is not the Lord among us? none evil can come upon us. Therefore shall Zion for your sake be ploughed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest." That corrupt governments have been sustained by false doctrines, promulgated by priests and philosophers, is acknowledged by credible historians. Polybius, for instance, an ancient Greek historian, tells us plainly that "since the multitude is ever fickle and capricious, full of lawless passions and irrational and violent resentments, there is no way left to keep them in order, but by the terrors of future punishment and all the pompous circumstance that attends such kind of fiction. On which account, the ancients acted, in my opinion, with great judgment and penetration, when they contrived to bring in those notions of the gods and a future state into the popular belief." Strabo, another Greek writer, speaks to the same purpose. "It is impossible," he says, "to govern women, and the gross body of the people, and to keep them pious, holy and virtuous, by the precepts of philosophy this can only be done by the fear of the gods, which is raised and supported by ancient fictions and modern prodigies." He tells us further, that the " apparatus of the ancient mythologies" was "an engine which the legislators employed as bugbears to strike a terror into the childish imagination of the multitude." See the work of Rev. Thos. J. Sawyer, entitled, "Endless Punishment, its Origin and Grounds Examined," p. 22. The
as it were wounded to death: and his deadly wound was healed; and all the world won
priestly pagan power of Rome sustained the secular arm, by means of the false doctrines, the awful rites, the terrible mysteries; and in this way, if in no other, "the dragon gave the beast his power, and his seat, and great authority" over the people. Such a construction of this passage is consistent with fact, and makes unity. No man can fail to see that the Roman power is intended both by the dragon (chap. xii.) and the beast, (chap. xiii.,) with some circumstances of dissimilarity. The pagan power of the empire is put first, because it rose up first against Christianity; and the support which the pagan power gave the secular is described in the verse before us.
3. One of his heads as it were wounded to death. The beast, we have seen, had seven heads, ver. 1. The same was true of the dragon; xii. 3. One of the heads of the beast was wounded to death, a hyperbole, perhaps, for a very severe wound. This undoubtedly describes some calamity that fell upon the government of the empire, in one of its sections, which was afterwards repaired. One of the heads was severely wounded and afterwards healed. If these seven heads represent seven kings, (as we should be led to think from chap. xvii. 10,) then the wounding of one of the heads would refer to some calamity of one of these kings, which he subsequently recovered from. That it was some disaster suffered by vio lence, is apparent from verse 14, where the wound is said to have been made "by a sword." ¶ All the world wondered. - The Roman government was undoubtedly a wonder to all the world. "And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world,
4 And they worshipped the the beast, saying, Who is like dragon which gave power unto unto the beast? who is able to the beast and they worshipped make war with him?
when they behold the beast that was,
4. Worshipped the dragon. The dragon was worshipped; that is to say, the people reverenced the power represented by him. Worshipped the beast. They reverenced also the power represented by the beast. Both powers were the objects of adoration; but the beast was the warlike power; not like the dragon, in a spiritual contest; but Rome secular had immense armies at her command. ¶ Who is like unto the beast? - Well might the wondering multitude say, "Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?" But after all, the confidence in the power of the empire was too great, for great as the empire was, it did finally fall. And we read in the chapter we are considering, that one of the heads of the beast was "wounded to death," ver. 3, "by a sword," ver. 14; and we are told (ver. 10) that "he that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword." Rome, with its terrible arm, was not unconquerable. There was a time, however, when she appeared to be so. Within the space of a little more than a hundred years, she made herself the mistress of the world. Her dominion extended from the islands of the Atlantic on the west, to the river Euphrates on the east, and from the Mediterranean on the south, almost indefinitely towards the north pole; at least, so as to include all civilized countries. She embraced all that part of Europe and Asia
which was famous for letters and the arts; and may, therefore, be said to have swayed the world. She was preeminent in the art of war. The ablest generals were in her service; and if she had not the largest armies her command, she had those that were sufficiently numerous, and that for a long time contended successfully with the armies of all other parts of the world. Can we be surprised, then, that "all the world wondered after the beast"? and said, "Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him”? clear distinction, it seems to us, is obsérvable between the beast and the dragon, although they are alike in certain very essential particulars. The world does not say, Who is like unto the dragon? who is able to make war with the dragon? The dragon represented the spiritual, not the sword-bearing, power. The dragon did not make war as the beast did. The contest which the dragon and his angels carried on was not on earth, but was seen in the air, among the stars. It was metaphorical, or spiritual. It was with Michael and his angels, the imaginary_guardians of the faithful Christians. The dragon was worsted, and was thrown down from the height of his power. Christianity gained the ascendency in the empire. We see, then, a plain distinction between the dragon and the beast; the former, it would seem, referred to the spiritual power, or heathenism; the latter represented the secular power of the state.
5. A mouth speaking great things and blasphemies. The phraseology of Daniel is preserved all along in this chapter. This "mouth speaking great things and blasphemies" is a method of speech borrowed from that prophet. See Dan. vii. 8: "I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another little horn, before
5 And there was given unto | power was given unto him to him a mouth speaking great continue forty and two months. things and blasphemies; and 6 And he opened his mouth power of their enemies, whether it may have been longer or shorter. The revelator, who will be found a most obsequious imitator of Daniel in his metaphors, quotes the method of speech from him. But the revelator, preserving the general idea, still varies his phraseology, and uses "forty and two months" and "twelve hundred and sixty days," which evidently enough are of similar force and interpretation with the time, times, and half a time, or year, years, and half a year. One year, two years, and a half of a year, are exactly forty-two months, and forty-two months of thirty days each, (as the Jews reckoned,) are just twelve hundred and sixty days. And when Daniel says, at the close of his prophecy, "Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand, three hundred and five and thirty days," the meaning is, Blessed is he that liveth to the days beyond the season of the prostration of the saints. In respect to the destruction of the Jews, the Christians were assured "the day of the Lord should come as a thief in the night;" 1 Thess. v. 1, 2. The early Christians were prohibited from inquiring too particularly into those matters. "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power;" Acts i. 7. The precise day and hour of Christ's coming they were not to know, but they were to keep always ready for it, for it should surely come in that generation, and to many it would come unexpectedly, like "a thief in the night." This was all the Christians were to know in regard to the time. It is manifestly certain, then, that none of the sacred writers meant to foretell the exact number of days.
whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things." -Also verse 11, "I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame." And again, verse 25: "And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws." Daniel, like the revelator, was speaking of the Roman empire under the figure of a beast; and the revelator evidently quotes the prophet's language. Did not the Roman rulers utter great things against the Most High? Did not the beast have upon his heads the name of blasphemy?
Forty and two months. - This beast was to continue forty and two months. Many speculations, very wise, we have no doubt, in the opinions of their authors, have been offered in regard to the time intended by this phrase. We have already stated, that, in our judgment, it was a mere metaphor of time, to signify the season of the church's depression, and of the exultation of her enemies. It is far from being certain that the various phrases, “a time, and times, and dividing of time," Dan. vii. 25; "a time, times, and a half," xii. 7; Rev. xii. 14; "forty and two months," Rev. xi. 2; xiii. 5; and "twelve hundred and sixty days," Rev. xi. 3; xii. 6; all signify the same time, or even the same length of time. The expression originated with Daniel, and was used by him (vii. 25) to signify the season of the predominance of the opposing power against the saints of the Most High. Now, let the reader take a hint from this fact. The time, times, and half a time, is the season of the depression of the saints and the
6. Blasphemy against God. — Rome blasphemed God. Hence we read that upon the seven heads of the beast was "the name of blasphemy," verse
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
1, and that he had "a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies," verse 5. Rome blasphemed the name of God, and his tabernacle, and those that dwelt therein, or in heaven, which means the same thing. The tabernacle of God was with men ; and they who were brought to know, and love, and serve him, dwelt in his tabernacle, or in heaven. Hence Paul said to the Hebrew Christians, "Ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heaven-out of his mouth: and all the fowls ly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable were filled with their flesh;" xix. company of angels," &c.; xii. 22. By 19-21. This was the final overthrow those who "dwelt in heaven," is of the beast. It was not permitted meant those who have entered the that he should always make war upon spiritual kingdom of Jesus Christ. the church. We have no doubt that the early Christians were obliged to endure all manner of reproaches and blasphemies. Some of the Roman emperors arrogated to themselves honors, and were called by names, which belonged to God alone. In this way they blasphemed God.
7. Make war with the saints, and overcome them. He was permitted to make war with the saints; he was permitted to overcome them. It was allowed for wise and holy purposes. The language above quoted is the language of Daniel, which he used in regard to the Roman beast. "I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;" vii. 21. But he prevailed against them only for a time; and during that time his power was very wide; it extended over "all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." See Rev. xi. 7; xii. 17. In the sequel he was to fall. His triumph could not be long. The revelator says, in a subsequent passage, "And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to
make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded
8. All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him. This is but a reiteration of the fact stated in verses 3 and 4. But during this very general devotion to the power of Rome, both in religion and government, there were some who did not join in it, viz., those whose names are "written in the book of life of the Lamb." We have already expressed our opinion of the phrase "book of life," in the notes on Rev. iii. 5, to which we refer. A few additional particulars are here added. It was an ancient custom to speak of the names of the faithful as being written in a book; and when one was ejected, or cut off, his name was said to be blotted out. See Exod. xxxii. 31-33: "And Moses returned. unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt, forgive their sin: and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast writ ten. And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book." Book is used metaphorically for re