« 이전계속 »
" according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Israel !"
Saint John, expressing a great astonishment at such a representation, has an explanation given to him of the meaning of the BEAST full of names of blasphemy, having seven beads and ten horns, on which the woman sat. The BEAST, which corresponds with the fourth beast of Daniel (vii. 7) is the Roman empire, described (chap. xiii.) as rising out of the sea, or nations of the world; and the history of it, as given here, is very concise, though comprehending many centuries, and a variety of changes in its mode of existence, till it goeth into perdition.—“The beast that thou sawest
WASAND IS NOT-AND'SHALL ASCEND
OUT OF THE BOTTOMLESS PIT, AND GO INTO PERDITION.” It was,-it arose and subsisted under various forms of government, till the roman empire became extinct for a while, by the banishment of Augustulus ; and it is not, or it ceased, or " was wounded unto death," (Rev. xiii. 3) yet had “ its deadly wound heal
ed;" and as it was there said, “ all the world wondered after the beast," so here the same observation is made, which proves that it is the same beast and the same event alluded to in both places. " 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,) when they behold the beast that wAS-and is not--AND YET IS, ascending in a changed form (after his wound and recovery) out of the bottomless pit of error and imposture ; and continuing still to rule over the nations of the earth, or roman empire, in as lordly and imperious a stile as ever, till at the expiration of a given term, she declines and sinks into perdition.*
The seven heads represent the seven hills, or mountains, on which Rome stands, the capital city and seat of the man of sin, and which gives authority and name to his apos, :
* This expression “goeth into perdition," is not to be met with any where else, and seems to allude to the predicted mode of her destruction.
tacy.* They also signify so many different forms of government, which should success ively prevail there, and which, in the language of prophecy, are here figuratively called KINGS. Five of these were in St John's time already come, and gone by or fallen, " and one is," the sixth was at that time in existence. The five fallen, as Newton and others reckon them from Livy and Tacitus, are KINGS, CONSULS, DICTATORS, DECEMVIRS, military TIBUNES with consular authority, and the sixth was the EMPERORS.
« The other is not yet come, and when he cometh he must continue a short space.
And the beast that was and is not even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition
There is in this place some difficulty and difference of opinion, in what sense the beast is the eighth and of the seven ; which seems to be solved by considering him, in different respects, as one of the seven preceding forms
* Dumque suis victrix septem de montibus orbem,
Ovid. lib, iii, EL. 9.
of government revived, or as a government in other 'respects wholly distinct, and the eighth that appeared in Rome, and which shall continue longer than any of the others before him, even till the predicted perdition overtakes him.
Bishop Newton explains the existence, disa appearance, and re-existence of the beast differently. The beast signifying a persecuting idolatrous power; Rome was truly such under the
pagan emperors. For a short while christianity triumphed over paganism, and then the beast" is not;" but when antichrist usurped the throne of the Cæsars, and both heathenism and persecution revived, the beast had his deadly wound healed, and existed again. The seventh king, or form of government, which succeeded the Cæsars at Rome, and had never been experienced there before, and was to continue but a short space, the bishop interprets. of the dukedom of Rome, set up by Longinus about the year 566, " and the city revolted from the eastern emperor to the pope in the year 727; which is a short space in compari
son of the imperial power, which had lasted above 500 years, and of the papal, which was to last 1260 years.” The papal persecuting. and idolatrous beast thus became the eighth, and was of the same lineage, and name, and nature as the seven before him, and he still continues.
The ten horns start another difficulty, upon which though interpreters are agreed in the main, yet there is great variety of opinion as to the particulars. These represent ten kings or kingdoms, intimately connected with the history and fortunes of the beast, and originating out of its body, upon the dissolution of the imperial governmeut. These, of course, had no existence in St John's time, but were to receive power as distinct kingdoms, “ONE HOUR with the beast,"* which may signify
* μίαν ώραν λαμβανουσι μετα το θηρίου, « Ad unam bοram accipient cum bestia." Beza. “ Una hora accipiunt post bestiam," _Vetus. “Uno eodemg: tempore."-Vitring. “Malim, ad unum idemq: tempus, ut cum identitate temporis durati. onem complectatur," - Mr Mann's MS. as quoted by Newton