Pareus on Revelation 13:1-10

the beast from the sea

       This chapter is a declaration or exposition of Rev. 12:17. For it describes the war between the Dragon and the seed of the Woman; that is, with the Saints and faithful worshippers of Christ. This the Dragon accomplishes through Antichrist, whose rising, nature, kingdom, power, deeds, success, character, and lastly his name and number, (or numeral name) the Prophet sets forth in lively colors under the type of a double Beast. For the two Beasts signify a two-fold person of Antichrist; i.e., a secular monarch and spiritual seducer or false prophet. The persecution described here shall endure until the end of the world.

And I saw a Beast rise up out of the sea  = All interpreters, both ancient and modern, agree that either one or the other Beast is the Antichrist, and some even agree both Beasts represent him. The only exceptions are Lyra and Alcazar. As to the first Beast, some would have it be the devil, or some especially wicked person, such as Mohammed and Luther, for example, or the body of all wicked persons. It can’t be the devil because the Dragon, who is the devil, gives his throne to another, the Beast. Therefore, he is not the Beast himself. In the prophetic style, a Beast signifies not a special man, but a monarchical kingdom with the head thereof. Lastly, the wicked shall follow and worship the Beast, therefore, they themselves are not the Beast.

Pareus respectfully disagrees with a popular Protestant interpretation for the identity of the first Beast from the sea

        The popular interpretation among the Reformed is one which believes the Beast denotes the old Roman Empire because of its idolatry and persecution of Christians. Among those who hold to this view are Tertullian, Jerome, Eusebius, Bullinger, Foxe, Osiander in his Conjectures, Junius, Whitaker, and the Jesuit Alcazar. This opinion I do not altogether disapprove, considering that in Rev. 17 (where this Beast comes forth once again), it is manifest that Antichrist is represented as clothed with the spoils of the Roman Empire. Nevertheless, I take exception to this interpretation for the following reasons:

(1) Since John sees this Beast’s rising, it could not be the ancient Roman Empire, for it had already been in existence 142 years, beginning with Julius Caesar. This Empire is spoken of by John in Rev. 17:8 as the Beast that was; i.e., before this vision, and before the vision of his rising out of the sea.

(2) This Beast did not rise out of the sea until the Woman’s flight into the wilderness, as the chronological order of the visions plainly manifest themselves. This flight of the Woman does not occur under the Roman tyrants, but under Christian Emperors and heretics, as we have shown in the foregoing chapter.

(3) The time period of the Beast’s raging and the Woman’s hiding in the wilderness, and the two witnesses prophesying are the same: 42 months = 1260 days. Now all interpreters agree that the 42 months here spoken are the last times in which Antichrist rages. Therefore, this Beast cannot possibly be the Pagan Empire of the Romans.

(4) Furthermore, there seems to be sufficient demonstrative reason against such an interpretation because this Beast is often mentioned throughout this prophecy as remaining a persistent persecutor of the Saints unto the end of the world, who is not to be abolished but by the brightness of Christ’s coming, who will cast him into the lake of fire and brimstone, 2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:10. Therefore, this Beast simply cannot be applied to the ancient Roman Empire.

This Beast the aforementioned interpreters liken to Daniel’s 4th Beast. However, upon closer inspection we soon find there to be several differences between the two, though they each have ten horns. Daniel’s 4th Beast is diverse from all the other beasts, but John’s Beast is a composite of Daniel’s 3 former beasts.

Also, those who worship the Beast are those whose names are not written in the Book of Life. This infers civil, as well as religious, subjection. But Christ Himself showed obedience to the Roman Empire when He paid tribute to Caesar. As did Paul, who appealed to Caesar when wishing to escape the fury of the Jews. And the Apostles taught Christians to be obedient unto the Magistrates thereof. Thus, the first Beast cannot be absolutely restrained to the ancient Roman Empire, otherwise Paul, Christ the Lamb and the Apostles’ names could not be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life……which we know them to be.

The Papist view of Antichrist recapitulated

        The Papists (that the Pope might not be suspected as the Antichrist) instead feign a certain Jew begot by an evil spirit, to be born of a Jewess near the end of the world. The Jews shall acknowledge him as their Messiah, and who, in the space of 3 ˝ years, shall subdue all the kingdoms of the world; yea, even the Roman Empire (yet not take on the title of ‘Emperor’); seduce the whole earth; rebuild the temple of Jerusalem, where he will sit and reign. He shall restore Rome, which had been burned by the ten kings who had thrust out the Pope from office, where he will reign and literally fulfill all things which are recorded of both Beasts in the Scriptures. This vain and fabulous opinion we have already shown to be false in chapters 9 & 11, for it was forged for the purpose of destroying the Christian world.

A popular Protestant view of the Sea Beast as Antichrist recapitulated

        Our Protestant Divines, on the contrary, affirm that no man is more evidently represented by this most monstrous Beast than the Papal Empire or Pope of Rome, of whom Mantuanus writes: “John describes Antichrist’s ravenous extortion and venomous rage against the godly by typing him out under the monstrous image of a horrible Beast, which could neither be termed a lion, bear, or any similar creature, but in whom was contained the fierceness of all wild beasts. Therefore, by this Beast, undoubtedly Antichrist is to be understood. Whenever Antichrist is mentioned we need not seek him in Babylon, but in the head of the 4th monarchy, Rome, etc. Furthermore, I do not see how he could be anyone but the Pope, whose kingdom and tyranny, if we compare those things which are spoken of the Little Horn in Daniel, will abundantly appear that it is he who fully acts all the parts of Antichrist, etc.”

Pareus expounds his position on the identity of the Sea Beast

        Now for my part, I conceive that neither popular Protestant interpretation, that of the Sea Beast representing either the old Roman Empire or the Papal Empire with the Pope at its head, is completely right or completely wrong, but rather that in a certain sense both interpretations are to be joined together for the following reasons:

        First, I undoubtedly take it that by this Beast is also noted a particular Monarchy Empire, as is commonly done by the Prophets.

        Second, it seems perfectly clear that this Beast and the 7-headed Beast of Rev. 17 are one and the same Beasts, and that the seven mountains signify Rome.

        Third, I affirm with the aforesaid interpreters that this Beast signifies Antichrist.

        Fourth, I am in agreement with Rupertus and Bellarmine, that the same Antichrist is typed out in figure by both the Beast from the sea and the Beast from the earth. Rupertus says: “This Beast is said to be two-fold because of his Kingly warlike and magical force.” Bellarmine says, “By the first Beast Antichrist is expressed in regard to his kingly power and tyranny; but by the other, in regard to his magical art, by which he subtly seduces men.” [1] Thus, by the first Beast is seen Antichrist’s tyranny, by the other his deceit and seducing, for which cause later he is called a false prophet. In Rev. 17, he is once again represented by this Beast as a Monarch. The woman riding upon him is a Queen or seducing Church.

        Fifth, I conclude that Antichrist is figured out by a double Beast, as well as by his two-fold rising out of the sea and earth, as if it were capable living on both land and sea, having two bodies, two shapes and two-fold nature, in a certain sense similar to Christ’s two-fold nature. In Rev. 13 Antichrist is seen as a secular Monarch and ecclesiastical seducer; in Rev. 17 he is seen as the Roman Monarch and adulterous Church.

        Sixth, I conclude that by the Sea Beast neither the old or new Roman Empire or Papacy is absolutely represented, but rather that Roman Pontifical Empire and authority which the Popes have exercised these many ages.

        Lastly, I conclude that this double bodied and double- faced Antichrist living on both land and sea, is none other than the Roman Pope, clothed with the spoils of the Roman Monarchy, and pretended Vicar of Christ who, armed with the sword of Paul and key of Peter; that is, with both secular and spiritual powers, the temporal by which he sets up or puts down Emperors and Kings, etc., and the spiritual by which he gives Laws to them in Heaven and to those on earth and under the earth. This is my opinion of Antichrist, depicted both in Rev. 13 and 17, that no man, unless he willingly shuts his eyes against the light, cannot but perceive the same.

Why then does not John expressly use the terms Antichrist or Pope instead of the Beast?

        It is because here he stands not in the role of a teacher, but of a Prophet. Indeed, teachers are to express things plainly, but Prophets foretell things to come, especially of a dangerous consequence, setting them forth under dark and obscure types, thereby stirring men up to more diligently search out the events and to shun unnecessary displeasure. In his Epistles, however, John he uses the name ‘Antichrist’ because he is writing in a teaching capacity, exhorting the Church to avoid him. But here in the Revelation, he is fulfilling the office of Prophet and so paints out Antichrist’s person and kingdom under the type of a Beast, and from these clues would have us judge and discern this mystery. Similarly, Paul, in prophesying of Antichrist, purposefully abstains from naming him, yet sets him forth in such lively colors, that whosoever looks upon the Papacy may simply see who and what manner of person he is.

And I saw a Beast rising out of the sea = In both Rev. 11:7 and Rev. 17:8 the same Beast ascends out of the bottomless pit. In this verse and the others just mentioned, the sense is all the same.[2] The sea is also called an ‘abyss’ because of its seemingly bottomless depth, as in Rev. 9:1. Thus, John is describing Antichrist’s place of origin, the throne and kingdom of Satan, the same infernal bottomless pit from whence the Locusts also came forth.[3] For Antichrist is the Angel of the bottomless pit, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all deceitfulness of unrighteousness, lying signs and wonders, II Thess. 2:9, and to whom the Dragon gave his throne and power, verse 2. All of these prophecies prove that Satan was the one who raised up Antichrist arming him with power.

        Furthermore, this ‘sea’ is none other than the flood of heresies which came forth from the mouth of the Dragon, Rev. 12:15-16. This filthy sink of heresies, errors, traditions, superstitions and all other abominations, which increasing in the Church, corrupted and depraved the sincerity of faith and purity of Christian religion, forcing the Church to flee into the wilderness, Christ having been thrust out of His possession, Antichrist setting up his throne in Christ’s stead.

How is it possible the Papal Antichrist could arise from the very heresies condemned by the Roman Bishops?

        Satan, through Synods which condemned heresies, did subtly and secretly work the mystery of iniquity. For under pretence of rooting out heresies, these councils monthly and yearly, like seas flowing together, continually devised new laws, rites, forms, creeds, etc., insomuch as it came to be a proverb that Christians had a ‘monthly faith.’ Now with the new forms of faith were forged new canons of erecting and purifying temples, consecrating altars, of seats and chief places, garments, immunities, powers, privileges, and rents of prelates and priests, of establishing and increasing the clergy. During this time the Bishop of Rome sought the primacy through numerous councils. Satan was more openly manifested in the 6th Council of Carthage, at which Augustine was present, when the Popes of Rome contended, by their Legates, that the Africans ought to appeal to Rome as the chief court of justice, but their fraud was discovered, they were frustrated and derided.

        The Puritan Protestant commentator Thomas Brightman observes from Bellarmine’s volume, On the Councils, chap. 19, that the Roman Popes were never personally present at the Eastern Ecumenical Councils, sending only their Legates, for two causes: (1) Because it did not seem proper that the head should follow the members (as if it were unseemly for a sound head to follow a sickly body); (2) Lest the Emperor being present, sitting in the chief seat, should be forced to give way to the Pope of Rome. By these one may plainly see that the Bishops of Rome did long ago, with an inveterate ambition, plot and strive for the Monarchy over Emperors and their fellow Bishops, until at length they obtained it, themselves authorizing councils.

        Therefore, the Beast rose out of the sea, not suddenly, nor in one day, month or year, but by certain steps continuing almost three hundred years, from Constantine to Phocas or from Julius 1st until Boniface 3rd. In this tract of time, Antichrist was formed in the bosom of the Church, as it were in the womb of a mother. When the Woman fled into the wilderness (by the year 606), at that time the Beast was fully hatched, having risen out of the sea at the opening of the 6th seal and sounding of the 5th trumpet.

Having seven heads and ten horns = The Beast is a terrible monster, not unlike the Dragon. A normal beast has but one head. Antichrist’s kingdom, therefore, is monstrous and abnormal, having Emperors and Kings lying under its feet. The Beast differs from the Dragon in that its crowns are on its horns, not its heads. Also, upon his heads is the name of blasphemy, unlike the Dragon. He is a composite of a leopard, bear and lion, which the Dragon is not. This is an allusion to the beasts of Daniel, chapter 7. The lion symbolized Babylonian Empire, the bear the Persian, the leopard the Macedonian. Of the seven heads, we are told in Rev. 17 they are both kings and the seven mountains of Rome. The ten horns are kings, about which we shall speak later.

And upon his heads the name of blasphemy = Blasphemy is railing against God or ‘a hurting of the reputation and name.’ This he shall have in his forehead, not by open profession (for he would not be considered a blasphemer), but in works and deed, as bringing in and defending blasphemous doctrines, religion and worship. Yet he will cloak the same with the name of Mystery, as being divine and holy worship instituted by the fullness of his power, as if he could not err.

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed = [Pareus admits there are numerous opinions amongst Protestants as to the interpretation of this verse. He is inclined to hold the opinion that the schism of the popes was the wounding, caused by the Dragon in retribution for his anger with the Beast, and the eventual healing occurred when Martin 5th was made Pope in 1414, ending the schism. He also favors Mantuanus’ interpretation: that by the preaching of the Gospel – the sword - the blasphemy of the Beast became known, causing many to separate from Popery, God being the cause of the wound.] Notwithstanding our sins so deserving, we see this wound now healed, the Papacy again prevailing, resuming her strength and vigor.

        The Catholic gloss vainly imagines that Antichrist feigns death, rising again to imitate Christ, gaining much admiration by means of this deception. However, John did not see the Beast dead, he saw only one of his heads mortally wounded and close to death. Yet even if we admit one head died, the Beast, though hurt, was not dead. Bellarmine approves this fable of the feigned death and resurrection of Antichrist. This Ribera refutes, imaging not Antichrist’s head, but a head of one of the ten kings (a member and forerunner of Antichrist) was wounded.

And all the whole earth wondered after the Beast = What is the cause of this wondering? Surely it cannot be the feigned death and resurrection of Antichrist, a theory of which even the chief Jesuits are ashamed. The true cause of the world’s ‘wondering’ is the seat and great power given to the Beast by the Dragon. At first, men admiring the ‘Keys’ and pretended seat of Peter, together with the majesty of ancient Rome, did easily attribute primacy of honor to the Roman Bishop, and agreed that every church should bring their cause before the Church of Rome because of her power and principality. This admiration gradually increased, turning into superstition, so that the Pope was given universal jurisdiction with divine honor, making him to be Antichrist. The phrase ‘wondering after the Beast’ signifies that men were so bewitched with the admiration of his power, they worshipped him as God, and subjected themselves by willing reverence under his feet, adoring all his decrees and commandments as divine oracles. Thus, this phrase does not connote a civil or forced subjection, but a religious and willing subjection. Similar expressions are found in Scripture which denote worship of God: Walk after the Lord your God, Deut. 13:4.[4] Also, it appears the throne which  the Dragon gave the Beast is not only secular, but religious. Furthermore, it is clear that this Beast is that Man of Sin of whom the Apostle speaks, 2 Thess. 2:4: who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped; that is, the Roman Antichrist, after whom the world has wondered these thousand years.

        And who are these admirers? The whole earth! In this we may observe two things. First, that this admiration is ‘catholic’[5] and universal. Second, These universal admirers are said to be the ‘earth,’ that is, all both great and small, bond and free, given to earthly worship, pomp, wealth, dignity, and pleasure, as it is said in verse 16. Therefore, we must take heed not to be taken up with admiration of these admirers, or follow them, but rather mourn in regard to their stupidity and destruction.

And they worshipped the Dragon = This verse correlates to the previous, wondering after the Beast, for it is worship of the Beast and the Dragon. Religious admiration (as the Scripture witnesses) is only proper to God and Christ. But these admirers adore the Dragon and the Beast, and by so doing give divine worship to them.

        But how do they worship the Dragon? Not by profession, but in works. For they religiously worship Saints and Angels in Heaven, who are not God. They worship images of wood, stone and brass, but all religious worship directed to the creature honors the devil, not God, no matter the intention and profession of the worshippers. For according to the Apostle, That which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, not to God.[6] And yet we know that the Gentiles (as the Indians and Brazilians to this day) did intentionally sacrifice to God, though in truth, they sacrifice to the devil. Therefore, just as they who worship Christ worship God, they who worship Antichrist worship the devil, from whom he received his seat and power.

And they worshipped the Beast, saying, Who is like to the Beast? Who is able to make war with him? = These statements reveal their true feelings, making the Beast equal with God. For by the first exclamation they extol his majesty; and by the latter, the divine power of the Beast. In this they imitate Scriptures which declare, To whom will ye liken God? What likeness will ye make to him? [7] To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.[8] Therefore, as the Saints and worshippers of God cry out, Who is like the Lord our God? O Lord who is like thee?,[9] so do the admirers of the Beast cry out, Who is as the Beast? Who is like him? And as the Saints cry out to God, Who shall resist thee? Who shall withstand thy will?, [10] in like manner the idolaters cry out, Who can fight with him? So that by these expressions they liken the Beast to God and Christ. Yea, and if thou well observe it, they make the Beast greater. For these expressions, Who is like thee? Who is able to fight with him?, are absolute negatives, as if they should say, “No man; no, not God nor Christ.” By this they openly profess the Beast adversary to God and Christ, lifting himself above all that is called God. This is one of the clearest arguments proving the Beast to be Antichrist.

Pareus proves the Beast and Little Horn to be one and the same

And to him was given a mouth speaking great things = Here and in the following two verses we are shown the declaration and usurpation of that power received from the Dragon. This particular verse is less obscure than others because it has already been explained in Rev. 11. This ‘great power’ is two-fold: (1) to blaspheme; (2) to do. Now this is said to be ‘given to the Beast.’ But by whom? By the Dragon, the devil; for the coming of Antichrist is after the efficacy of Satan.[11] His mouth is likened to a lion’s, verse 2, yet he speaks like a man who is a blasphemer; for metonymically the mouth of a lion symbolizes boldness in evil speaking. Here we need observe that the Little Horn also has a mouth speaking great things, Daniel 7:8, 20. By this it is conjectured that Antichrist is shadowed out, especially because there are three other points of similarity attributed to them both: (1) blasphemies against the highest; (2) war with the Saints; (3) and the time of his rage, 42 months; Daniel 7:25. Indeed, historically that Little Horn seems to prefigure Antiochus, the scourge of the Jews; but spiritually it prefigures Antichrist. For as Antiochus afflicted the Jewish Church, so does Antichrist the Christian. Thus, we see that the old and new prophecies excellently agree in both phrases and deeds, the one illustrating the other.

And power was given him to do = Some copies read, ‘to make war,’ which sense is the same, because it means ‘to rage and destroy according to his pleasure.’

Forty two months = The rage of the Beast shall continue a long time, but not always. A bridle has been placed in his mouth to limit his rage. From this the godly may receive comfort. The time frame coincides with that of Rev. 11:2, when the Gentiles tread down the holy city because they both address the same event. For in the Beast’s rage he treads down the holy city of the Saints. This time period began with the Beast’ ascension out of the bottomless pit, and are now for the most part expired.

And he opened his mouth in blasphemy = That is, he began to blasphemy in a horrible manner. These are the great things which were given to the Beast to vomit out with open mouth, that is, publicly, and in the very height of malice and impudent boldness. Now what is this, but those great privileges the Roman Beast boasts of, such as:

*  He is in God’s stead; yea, a god; Christ’s Vicar on earth;

*  Peter’s successor, having alone the Keys of Heaven;

*  He is the invincible Monarch of the Christian world;

*  The prince of Bishops;

*  The Head and Spouse of the Church;

*  The King of Kings;

*  The Lord of Heaven, earth and Hell;

*  The alone interpreter of the holy Scriptures;

*  Chief judge of all religion;

*  He has all laws and mysteries locked up in his breast;

*  The chief decider of the Catholic faith;

*  He judges all men, but is to be judged by none;

*  None may say to him, ‘My Lord, the Pope, why doest thou so’?, though he were to lead thousands of souls with him into Hell;

*  To him is given all power in Heaven and in earth; who opens and no man shuts nor opens; who loosens what no man binds, and binding no man looses; forgiving iniquities, taking away the sins of the world.

But in particular the thrust of his blasphemies are against God, his name, his tabernacle and them that dwell in heaven.

How the Beast blasphemes against God and His name

         Again, I will show how the Pope, the Beast, blasphemes God and His name. It is by doing that which the Apostle foretold of Antichrist, and which we see the Pope of Rome do even at this day: i.e., he opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. For he arrogates to himself the name and honor of God, suffering his ‘Clawbacks’ [12] to cry out, Who is like unto the Beast? Who is able to make war with him?” He challenges to himself all the rights and works of God:

*  By claiming he can create God, make something of nothing, make the Word of God;

*  By claiming that he cannot err, that his decrees are of like certainty and authority of the divine Scriptures;

*  By claiming that it is of necessity to salvation to be subject unto himself;

*  By claiming that it belongs to him to give the kingdoms of the world, to set up and depose Kings as he wishes, etc.

And if the Pope does all these things, what is left for God to do? Is not this blasphemy against God and His name?

How the Pope blasphemes the Tabernacle of God

The ‘tabernacle’ of God is the Church in which God dwells. This the Pope also blasphemes, for he falsely affirms himself to be the Head, Bridegroom and Lord thereof, when, in truth, he tyrannically oppresses and infects her by the poison of wicked doctrine, seducing, and inasmuch as he is able, thrusts her into eternal destruction by his lying, signs, and horrible idolatry.

Andreas understands by ‘tabernacle’ the flesh of Christ, in which the Word dwelt with us, John 1:14. This ‘tabernacle’ of God the Pope also blasphemes many ways. For what blasphemy is more horrid against the Son of God than that the Pope should boast daily by his Locusts to create Christ of a piece of bread in the Mass, to sacrifice and destroy Him? What blasphemy more odious against the office of Christ, then that the Pope, boasting himself to be the greatest High Priest,[13] proudly should exalt himself above Christ, the great High Priest? He denies the alone sacrifice of Christ is sufficient for the expiation of the sins of the Church, unless it is reiterated again and again by his Mass-priests. He denies that the merits of Christ alone are sufficient to take away sins and the punishment thereof, unless through his indulgences he adds a supply from the treasury of the Church, which is the merits of the Saints.

And them which dwell in heaven = By this I understand the Angels and blessed souls triumphing with the Lamb in heaven. Against these the Pope also pours forth his blasphemies in numerous ways. Willy-nilly, for his own gain sake, he obtrudes false honor upon them, making them gods, and builds temples, altars and images unto them. By this worship he exercises a most filthy trade, most of which he does by merely re-naming existing Heathen idols with ‘Christian’ names. He treats these ‘Christian’ gods as tutelary and household gods, as did the Romans before him, setting one saint over hogs, another over horses, another over asses, one over this town or city, another over that; all for their preservation and protection, to prosper their work, to heal diseases, and drive away calamities.

The Beast holds a special place for the Virgin Mary

But of all these, none is more unhappy nor overworked than the Blessed Virgin Mary, unto whom are sent, as unto a sure anchor, all kinds of people: pregnant women, barren women, the old and young, boys and girls, the healthy, the sick, merchants, sailors, fishers, horse keepers, horse riders, etc. There is no favor too great which cannot be obtained from her; no necessity so pressing which she cannot alleviate. Yea, she is far more liberal in curing than God Himself, and so, chiefly to her they run. She is continually extolled as Queen of Heaven, The Lady, and only hope, salvation and Patroness of men. God and Christ are nothing with the Beast, but Mary is Alpha and Omega, the haven and helper of all men unto salvation. She alone replaces Isis (the Pagan Queen of Heaven), Ceres, Venus, etc. And so, in all places where the Beast’s kingdom extends itself, Mary is saluted as Queen of Heaven, worshipped and wearied with more sumptuousness, cost, devotion and religion than God or Christ. Incredibly, there exists a Roman Catholic poem which praises the breast milk of Mary together with the blood of Christ!

And it was given unto him to make war with the Saints = The other usurpation of his power is not with his mouth, but in work. This is the power of ‘doing,’ that is, making war with the Saints and overcoming them 42 months. It is the same war against the Saints by the Little Horn, of which Daniel speaks in Chap. 7, verse 21. This war and victory of the Beast over the Saints is the same one described as that of the two witnesses in Rev. 11:7, for these witnesses, with their congregations, are these Saints. Though they are said be only ‘two,’ that is, a few in comparison with the Locusts, yet they suffice to confirm God’s testimonies, as it is written that in rendering a judgment, by the testimony of two or three everything is established.

        Now as to what war and when it occurred is seen from what was previously spoken. It is not so much a civil as an ecclesiastical war. For the Beast has two swords: one spiritual, which he draws out against the Saints when he uses bitter calumnies, lies and accusations from his orators, through anathemas of Councils, by proscriptions, bulls and decrees of the Romish Court. The other sword is secular which, at the Beast’s beck, the Kings of the earth are forced to unsheathe, to rage by fire and sword against such whom the Beast hath excommunicated. In this sense, the Beast is said to overcome, and the Saints vanquished. He persecutes them by both battles and bulls. But the Saints, though conquered, overcome. For according to that of the Apostle, In all these things we are more than conquerors, through him who loved us. This victory in overcoming the world and the Beast is the faith of the Saints, against which the Beast will never prevail.

        Daniel speaks the same concerning the Little Horn and the issue of the war with the Saints: he prevailed against them until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was given to the Saints of the Most High. Therefore, the Beast shall not always prevail against the Saints, but at length they shall judge the Beast, for his power shall endure no longer than 42 months, which serves for the comfort of the godly, lest fainting under their long enduring calamities they should cast away their hope of victory.

        If you inquire after the time of the war, it began centuries ago, when the Beast first tread down the holy city, tyrannically persecuting all who oppose by fire and sword. In particular, the war was at its height after the measuring of the Temple, which through the great mercy of God was effected in these last times. By means of this war the Council of Constance took away those two witnesses, John Huss and Jerome of Prague. Afterwards, the Saints were strongly condemned by the Council of Trent, as they are to this day.

And power was given him over all kindreds and tongues and nations = We have heard the declaration and usurpation of the power. Now he adds its great scope and magnitude. His power is universal, so that none, whether of high status or low in the Christian world, either willingly or by compulsion, are forced to submit to the Roman yoke. Here again, see whether or not the Spirit of God points at the Catholic state of Rome, so that Antichrist (Christ’s adversary) might be known by the worldwide extent of his kingdom. For as Christ is He that hath redeemed us to God by His blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people and nation, so on the contrary, the Dragon hath given power to the Beast over every tongue, and kindred, and nation, etc.

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him = In verse 4 the Apostle uses the preterperfect tense, ‘have worshipped.’ In this verse, however, he uses the future tense, ‘shall worship.’ This is to show that the Beast’s majesty shall not be for a short time – i.e., 3 ˝ years – but shall long endure, until it be fully manifested. Notwithstanding, the Holy Ghost comforts the godly by a two-fold restriction: First, because he calls the worshippers of the Beast, ‘inhabiters of the earth,’ and therefore, none but earthly men shall worship him. The Elect are not the ‘inhabiters of the earth,’ but Citizens of Heaven, in regard that their conversation is there.[14] Thus, God’s chosen shall not adore the Beast; neither shall their salvation or Christ’s Kingdom be in jeopardy, as is theirs who follow the Beast. For these shall all be cast with him into the Lake of Fire, Rev. 19:20.

        The other restriction is more expressly set down: they only shall worship the Beast, whose names are not written in the Book of Life, etc., that is, who were not elected in Christ unto salvation, but reprobated unto death before the foundations of the world. therefore, no man can be saved in the antichristian church because all who are not written in the Book of Life shall be cast into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone, Rev. 20:15. Let all, therefore, who love their salvation forsake the Pope’s Church.

Pareus explains the Book of Life

        The names of the Elect are said to be written in the Book of Life by an unusual metaphor, for we commonly write down the names of them that are dear to us so that we may continually remember them. And God also, having in His eternal council elected some to salvation, hath written their names in the Book of Life. As Christ says, Rejoice because your names are written in Heaven. This metaphor may also be understood of the Sonship of the Elect, so that to be written in the Book of Life shows they are heirs of glory, for we know that such are to inherit earthly things, whose names are written in the last will and testament of men.

        The Book of Life is Christ, for in Him God hath elected us. Therefore, it is called the ‘Book of Life of the Lamb,’ that is, of Christ, because election is made in Christ. Hence, none shall obtain eternal salvation, but such who are engrafted in Him through faith. The Lamb is also said to be ‘slain,’ because election includes the blood and death of Christ for the sins of all true believers. For God hath so decreed to save the Elect, as that (Christ’s satisfaction coming in as ransom for their sins) His justice might stand with His mercy.

From the foundation of the world = We may understand this referring either to the next word, ‘slain,’ or to the words before, ‘who are not written.’ Notwithstanding, the Spirit doth not without cause immediately join the words, ‘from the foundation of the world,’  with the Lamb, ‘slain.’ For He would commend unto us the sufficiency and largeness of Christ’s sacrifice, inasmuch as the efficacy of his death and passion is extended to the very first beginning of the world, and so unto all the faithful from Adam until the end thereof, to show that no man living shall obtain eternal life except he be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

        But how could the Lamb be slaughtered before He was born? I answer: It is true he was only slain once upon the Cross some 1,600 years ago, by a real suffering. Yet He is in divers respects said to be slain before the Crucifixion:

        (1) In God’s eternal predestination, i.e., that He should be slain at the appointed time.[15]

        (2) By the promise, that the seed of the woman should bruise the Head of the Serpent.[16]

        (3) In the belief of the fathers, which was the substance of things hoped for.[17]

        (4) In the sacrifices of the fathers, which sacramentally were the Lamb Himself.

        (5) And lastly, in His members, as suffering in their sufferings. Thus, Christ was slain in Abel, (saith Lyra), because “the slaying of innocent Abel was a figure of the Lamb’s slaughter.”

If anyone hath an ear = This acclamation is used several times previous in the Letters to the Churches and Epistles. By saying this, the Holy Ghost gains our attention, that we might give this Beast due contemplation, and from so doing know who is the Antichrist. For left unaware and ignorant, we might be circumvented with his subtlety. Thus, it is in this verse that his impostures are inferred to be so subtle and cunning that they are not easily discerned, as he is like a Wolf hid under a sheepskin. In like manner, Antichrist under Christ’s title shall deceive the world, coming as a mystery, with all deceivableness of unrighteousness, 2 Thess. 2:10.


He that leadeth into captivity = Though the Beast leads his worshippers into captivity, destroying their miserable souls; yea, though he shall take away the estates of the Saints, killing their bodies with the sword, he shall suffer the same things himself. For he shall be led into captivity and slain with the sword when he is cast into the Lake of Fire, Rev. 19:20.

Here is the patience and faith of the saints = The Apostle shows us the antidote by which these great evils may be borne and overcome. ‘Here is need of patience,’ he says. On which does not faint under afflictions. And the faith of the saints overcomes the world.[18] This verse is also a promise of God’s presence shall, indeed, endeavor to break the patience of the saints and extinguish their faith, but God will turn it to their good, so as by suffering they shall not be conquered, but their faith tried, being much more precious than gold.



[1] Of the Roman Pontiff, Chapter 25.

[2] The Greek word which we translate ‘pit’ – abussou -  is actually better translated ‘abyss.’ In Rev. 9:1 the literal Greek translation reads, “the key to the pit of the abyss.” There we translate ‘abyss’ as ‘bottomless.’

[3] In contradistinction to the Pope’s claim that he is the Vicar of Christ, the Holy Spirit reveals he is the Vicar of Satan.

[4] Also, Luke 9:23. If any man will come after me [i.e., worship and serve me], let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.

[5] In the ‘universal’ sense of the word, not limited to Roman Catholics.

[6] 1 Cor. 10:20.

[7] Isaiah 40:18.

[8] Isaiah 40:25.

[9] Psalm 113:5.

[10] Romans 9:19; Daniel 4:35.

[11] 2 Thess. 2:9.

[12] “To softly scratch the back,” spoken of flatterers and sycophants. (Webster)

[13] I.e., his title, Pontifex Maximus, meaning ‘Supreme Bridge Builder’… the Gods.

[14] Phil. 3:20.

[15] 1 Peter 1:19-20.

[16] Gen. 3:15.

[17] Heb. 11:1.

[18] 1 John 5:4.