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beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”
It will be remembered that the prophecy has been held to have authoritatively indicated the origin of the barbaric beast by his having been seen to “rise up out of THE SEA ;” and now we have the essentially Roman origin of this new beast equally authoritatively determined by his being seen “ coming up out of THE EARTH.” To satisfy “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth,” history must therefore show that after the subjection of the western Roman empire by the barbarians or barbaric beast, and the subsequent invasion of its territory by the Saracens to enforce by the sword the anti-christian utterances of his auxiliary Mahometan “Mouth,” a new essentially Roman power gradually assumed an ascendency ultimately resulting in an empire of sufficient importance to meet the requirements of a symbolic beast. The only identifying characteristic as to the form of this new beast, which we shall in future style Roman beast, is, “He had two horns like a lamb;" and as a Lamb is the scriptural type of Jesus Christ—"The Lamb of God”-we are thereby led to conclude that the profession of Christianity was the great element of strength by which the gradual ascendency of the Roman beast ultimately resulted in the formation of an important empire; or in other words, That the Roman beast's secular power was created by and depended upon his religious power. His further characteristics relate to his doings. The first of these, “ And he spake as a dragon," instructs us that the Roman beast's profession of Christianity masked an idolatrous spirit that found expression in heathenish and not Christlike mandates and decrees.
The next characteristic is, “ And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him.” It will be at once seen that the “first beast,” here mentioned, refers to the beast from the sea, styled in our last lecture barbaric; and that “before him” appears to be a qualifying characteristic of the barbaric beast denoting priority of time; but seeing that in this sense “ first” sufficiently identifies the barbaric beast without the addition of “ before him," we may be assured that those terms have another signification, notwithstanding that the empire of the barbaric beast commenced prior to the empire of the Roman beast, and therefore that as it regards time, had not “first” made it redundant, “before him” would be an undeniable qualifying characteristic of the barbaric beast. It will be seen, too, that if read as denoting priority of time, “before him” would suggest, if not enforce, the view that the empire of the barbaric beast had ended, and that the empire of the Roman beast had succeeded to it; a view which would be altogether untenable, as we have previously ascertained that the empire of the barbaric beast is prophetically prolonged through a period of, at least, 1260 years—the term of prosperity assigned to his auxiliary "mouth.” Seeing then that the barbaric and Roman beasts represent two contemporary empires, to suppose that the terms “ before him” refer to the intermediate time existing between the appearance of the one and of the other would be attaching far too meaningless an object to satisfy prophetic dignity. We may therefore safely conclude that “ before him ” does not refer to priority of time, but gives to the barbaric beast a priority of rank over the Roman beast; and hence, as the barbaric empire was purely secular, that the terms “ And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him” will be strictly and fully satisfied if history shows—That the Roman beast exercised in his dominions all the power that had been previously exercised therein by the barbaric beast, subject to the barbaric beast's supremacy.
The next terms are—“And causeth the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed.” It will be seen in this case that the qualifying characteristic “whose deadly wound was healed ” distinguishes the “first beast” here mentioned from the “ first beast” previously mentioned, and for the key to the distinction refers to ver. 3, “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death, and his deadly wound was healed.” By this key we ascertain that “whose deadly wound was healed ” does not characterise the beast from the sea, but only one of his heads. This head, we have seen, was transferred to him by the dragon; and, subject to confirmation on the present occasion by its being shown that “whose deadly wound was healed ” does not characterise “the beast from the sea,” has been determined in our last lecture to have represented Pagan Rome, its imperial qualification having been deduced from its being here denominated a beast. This confirmation has now been supplied, so that we may at once adopt the conclusion previously arrived at, viz :—That “whose deadly wound was healed” is the characteristic of Pagan Rome. And if we now observe that the term “worship,” in the text, has a religious reference, and that history has already shown us that the religion of Pagan Rome received a deadly wound from the sword of Christianity and that its deadly wound was healed by the resuscitation of idolatry in another form, it will be readily seen that the force of the terms “ And causeth the earth and them which dwell therein [Romans and their barbaric conquerors] to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed,” will be fully satisfied by its being shown—That Paganism was perpetuated, in another form, by the agency of the Roman beast.
The next terms are “ And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast [barbaric beast] ; saying to them that dwell on the earth [Romans and barbarians], that they should make an image to the beast [Pagan Rome], which had the wound by a sword and did live.” It will be seen that these terms demand from history to show—That the new Roman beast became very celebrated; successfully invoked the highest ruling powers to support him by a manifestation of wrath against his opposers; imposed pretended miracles on the credulity of the Romans and barbarians, and induced them to construct a semblance of Pagan Rome.
The prophetic history of the Roman beast is continued by “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” The distinction between “image to the beast” in the preceding verse and “image of the beast” in this verse must not be overlooked in our analysis, especially as our experience has frequently demonstrated that the prophetic force lies concealed beneath a verbal peculiarity apparently unimportant. The present instance is not an exception, for it will be seen that the observance of the distinction imparts a luminous and easy reading (otherwise beset with some difficulty) not only to our text, but also to those which follow and are dependent on it; inasmuch as “image of the beast” no longer reads, as would appear at first sight, image of the beast which had the wound by a sword and did live, but image made by the barbaric beast, or the barbaric beast's image to the beast which had the wound by a sword and did live; and as this reading is applicable in all cases where “of the beast” subsequently occurs, the elements of possible confusion in identifying the several beasts are eliminated from our inquiry.
Our text will therefore read-And he had power to give life unto the image which the barbaric beast had made, that the image made by the barbaric beast should both speak and cause that as many as would not worship the barbaric beast's image to the beast which had the wound by a sword and did live should be killed. And if we observe that the semblance of Pagan Rome which the Roman beast had induced the Romans and barbarians to construct, to have been a faithful likeness, must have represented both the ecclesiastical and secular features of that empire ; that the term “worship” in the above text points to the ecclesiastical composition only of that semblance; and that “of the beast” fixes the construction of this ecclesiastical composition exclusively on the barbarians, it will be seen that the conditions imposed upon history by the prophetic terms are— That the Roman beast infused life into the ecclesiastical composition of the semblance of Pagan Rome which he had induced the barbarians (or barbaric beast) to construct ; That the ecclesiastical composition of the semblance, thus vivified, issued decrees, and caused the penalty of death to be enforced against those who refused their religious VOL. III.
homage; and inferentially, That the secular composition of the semblance was constructed by the Romans.
And if we now observe that it was an ancient custom for servants to be branded with the mark of their master; soldiers with the mark of their general; religious devotees with the mark of their particular deity; and that these marks were generally made upon the right hand or on the forehead, and consisted of hieroglyphics, or of the name simply, or of the name expressed in numeral letters, it will be seen that the style of the remaining prophetic terms is in accordance with that custom, and is thereby divested of the peculiarity—and consequent difficulty in defining the meaning—which might otherwise be considered to be attached to it. These terms are “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads : and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred threescore and six;" which, guided by the effect of the change in the original from the dative to the genitive case, as explained above, will read as follows :-And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads (the Sinaitic version is—“ To give him a mark in their right hand or in their forehead"); And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name affixed by the barbaric beast, or the number of that name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number (of the name) affixed by the barbaric beast ; for it is the number (of the name) of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six. History is therefore called upon to show, in order to sustain its accordance with revelation, That the barbarians instituted a mark by which the devotees of the ecclesiastical composition of their newly constructed semblance of Pagan Rome might be known ; That this mark had consistent reference to the right hand or forehead; That the barbarians also gave a