Translated by George Joye
A. D. 1548

Be ye awake, for ye know not when the Lord of the house shall come, lest he cometh suddenly and find you sleepers.

George Joye

 Since all unreasonable creatures so greatly long, and with groaning sighs, (as Paul saith), unable to be expressed, desire to see the day of their redemption, wherein they should be loosed from their present servitude, (wherewith man yet abuseth and holdeth them, as drunkards abuse wine, gluttons the beasts, fowls, fishes, corn and all manner fruits, as unthankful men abuse all manner of gifts and creatures of God; as idolaters abuse the sun, moon, stars, stones, trees; and as the superstitious the water, fire, etc.; and the as blasphemous swearers abuse the saints in heaven, God and his creatures), much more are the elect children of God, who are abused, oppressed, persecuted and slain of the ungodly, sigh and sorrow, crying out with the souls under the altar for the redemption of our bodies.[3] Yea, and to know the signs and conjectures immediately coming before it, that we might in time lift up our heads,[4] awake out of our beastly and sinful living,[5] gladly to come forth with our bright lamps to meet our bridegroom.[6] And they, because of their willful ignorance have been captured[7] and abused of the abominable beast of Rome might also now, before it is too late, forsake her, and fly her out of Babylon into Christ’s church.[8] This book treateth of the signs and conjectures that go before the end of the world, whereof some be past, some are present, and some are yet shortly to come, and do tell us certainly the time of the fall of the Antichrist of Rome, and last end of this miserable, sinful world, laid in so dark Prophecies, numbers of days, times and seasons of Daniel, and in the Apocalypse, which every man, except those indentured to the Roman Church, would be desirous to know and to prepare himself. I have made this Latin book of that godly and learned man, Andrew Osiander, to speak English, that ye might comfort yourselves by reading the divine mysteries and warnings contained herein…..And to be short, because I would, with the confession of my faith, profit and comfort the congregations of Christ (we are all born to profit our brethren), so here hast thou, gentle reader, a clear, brief exposition of all the most hard places and hid mysteries in Daniel, Paul and the Apocalypse concerning this last monarchy of Rome, the description and lively picture of that Antichristian horned whore, of her fall, and end of this world shortly to come….


 Although our Lord Jesus Christ (as witnesseth Matthew) most clearly pronounced that the day and hour wherein He shall return to judge the quick and the dead, no mortal man is to known; no, not the angels, but to be left only in the pleasure of God the Father. Yet I think that the very Christians brought up and learned in the holy scriptures, may by some certain conjectures gathered out of God’s word and His works, not only come to the foresight of the approximate time, and (as it were) comprehended within certain limits, but also I judge that we ought to endeavor ourselves to study, to attain thereunto. For our Lord said not that the world, or the age, or the year of His coming no man can know, but only the day and hour no man could know. For verily, by the most apt similitude to search it out, did He lovingly provoke us both to observe and wait for the same time, yea, and in a manner compelled us so to do. Wherefore He said, When I begin to do these things, then look up, and lift up your heads, for then draweth nigh your liberty and redemption. And even of the fig tree learn the similitude, whose branches when they begin to be soft and tender and thrust forth their buds and leaves, then know ye that Summer is nigh. And even so when ye see all these tokens and things told you beforehand, then be sure that the kingdom of God is at hand. By this and such like warnings hath He not only committed and given to the common people to conjecture of the last time of the state of things to come as though they were present, but also the wiser and better learned hath He marvelously given occasion, long before, to search out and to foresee this desired last time. For as the time [of the Summer season can be known] to draw nigh by the budding of the trees, and the astronomers by the moving of the stars can define the Springtime and prognosticate it long before, even so ought we to discern the end of the world to draw nigh, and the coming of the Son of man to be at hand by these signs which Christ showed us of His coming. The learned in the holy scriptures are to signify it long before the courses of time and the ages by conjecturing Christ’s coming, having tried the time out of the secret mysteries of the word…..

Interpretation of Revelation 13

 Now let us treat of the later domination of Rome[9] out of the Revelation and Paul. And as the need arises we will interpolate. And here, Christian reader, I would have you consider first how great and earnest was Satan’s subtle, crafty, and deceitful wiles, for when he perceived the former domination of Rome to be utterly subverted, he studied diligently to paint forth and to set up long before, even while the other still existed, another domination of the same city; yea, and that far worse than the former. And he did so garnish it that before the former domination was utterly fallen and expired, this later domination should be even then almost ripe in all wickedness by the Popes, and wax strong in all Idolatry, superstition, false religion, and all mischief. For when that former domination of the Roman city was yet robust in strength and armor, this later domination took increase and began to arise and creep up under both the cloak and name of the Christian religion, in superstition, self-proclaimed holiness, false miracles and doctrine even more false. In which false pretext is described most earnestly and diligently by the author of the Revelation in chapter 13, where he sets before us this one thing, even as it were the open mark to behold that the domination of Rome, after it was once fallen and utterly extinct, she should creep up out of her grave and put forth her head again after a new fashion. But John would in no place openly name her as the city of Rome in plain words, lest she became more cruel and angry for being openly named (for it is characteristic of the wicked to wax worse the more mentioned by name) she would have persecuted the church the more grievously and sharply, which persecution was even then most bitter and tyrannical. John therefore treateth two necessary things.

First, he diligently describes what was the nature of this later beast before the former fall of the domination of Rome, whom he will not openly name, which also after that fall and utter destruction, so swiftly waxed to strong again, as though she had been risen from death to life, so that all the circumstances having diligently been expressed, only her name is suppressed. Yet he certainly affirms that he speaks of the city of Rome.

Secondly, he painteth before us most skillfully all the conditions of the later domination in what thing she agreeth with the former, and in what she agreeth not, so that once diligently known, we might avoid and abhor her as Hell’s gates and the Pit of everlasting damnation. Neither was he content with that so diligent picture which he did set before our eyes in his 13th chapter, but also did adjoin in his 17th chapter the interpretation which he received of the Angel, as did Daniel, which we for brevity (as it were) shall weave into our narration. Thus saith John:

I saw the beast arising out of the sea….

(Osiander comments): This same beast John sees again in the 17th chapter, the angel interpreting his prophecy. The beast that I saw, was, and is not, that is, she was even the one Daniel described, but she is not, for the Empire was then [in existence in John’s age] but anon after taken away of God. But because that heavenly decree of God the Father concerning Christ was not yet put into execution, therefore the Angel a little later speaketh it clearly saying, She was and is not, for although she was then in her prime, yet was she then certainly appointed and destined to her destruction.

 …having seven heads and ten horns.

(Osiander comments): This the Angel also interprets in the 17th chapter thus, saying, And here it behoveth a mind that hath wisdom. The seven heads are the seven hills upon which the woman sitteth, and they are seven kings. And a little after in the end of the 17th chapter he saith, The woman whom thou sawest is the great city which hath the kingdom and dominion over the kings of the earth. Wherefore the seven heads have a double interpretation.

First, they signify the seven hills or the seven hilltops which Rome containeth within her walls, built upon the same, as Virgil describeth her so situated: ‘Rome encompasses within her walls seven little hills, like seven Towers, which is one of the notable tokens and visible indication of the city of Rome.’ That she [alone] is built upon these seven hills [is true] because such a thing was never said of any other city in the world.

Secondly, the seven heads signify seven kings. But because the ten horns also signify ten kings, this seems to make for confusion. Therefore, the apt difference is to be sought consenting with the truth, which verily is soon understood in the interpretation of the Angel, which saith of the seven kings, five have fallen, and one is, and the last is yet to come. Whereof it is plain these seven heads reign, one after another. But of the ten kings, thus he saith, These shall receive power in one hour, that is, they all shall reign at one time together, each in his place, as did the ten proconsuls in the former domination of Rome. But here must ye know and diligently note that in prophetic mysteries a king signifieth not one singular person, but all the kings in succession, one after another, in a continuous line,[10] so long as that manner of reign is not changed. [This principle] is seen in Daniel 11, for example, where the King of the South signifies all the kings of Egypt from Ptolemeo Lago unto Cleopatrum. And the King of the North signifies all the kings of Syria from Seleuco Nicanore unto Antiochus Epiphanes. Likewise, Rome ought also to be understood. It is manifest the city of Rome in her former domination had seven heads; that is, seven kinds of successive kings or rulers of the most high Empire. The first rulers which governed her were Kings. The second were called Counselors. Next, the Tenmen[11] with the most high authority were created to write and make her laws. These constituted the third regiment. Then the Dictators the fourth. The Threemen[12] after the death of Julius did constitute the fifth. The Monarchs, the Caesars, made the sixth. And lastly, the external or strange[13] Emperors which were not of the house of the Caesars constituted the seventh head. Wherefore the Angel speaketh rightly and clearly when he saith, Five have fallen, that is, to wit: The Kings, the Counselors, the Tenmen, the Dictators and the Threemen were past and gone. The sixth was the monarchy of the Caesars which then stood when John wrote these words, (for he wrote them under Caesar Domitian). But the seventh was not yet come. For at that time there was no strange or external Emperor created.[14] And the ten horns which are the ten kings, formerly having been the ten proconsuls of the Roman Empire, will be,[15] in this later Roman domination, the ten kingdoms which reverently will confess or have confessed Rome to be the head of all the churches, as Spain, Portugal, France, England, Scotland, Denmark, Poland, Bohemia, Hungary, and even he that holdeth now the kingdom in name only, the Emperor of Rome, and is not, to wit: Charles V. Let him hold fast the title. Though there were others in diverse places, when one fell, another rose in its place; albeit there were always about ten in number.

 And upon his horns he had ten diadems.

For they were decked and garnished with the most high imperial popish prelates, such as Cardinals and Bishops exalted above their kings.

 And upon his own head the name of blasphemy.

That is, blasphemous names and titles. For when they had heard anon out of the prophets and Sibyls[16] of the eternal kingdom that should spring up, which is of Christ and his gospel, they then applied the same salvation to their Roman church, Bishop of Rome and antichristian kingdom…..A great blasphemy it verily is, arrogantly usurping the honor, praise and majesty of the everlasting imperial kingdom of Christ, due only to the Son of God, by applying and adjoining them to the ungodly wicked tyranny of the city of Rome and her profane court. I might here make mention of other causes of blasphemy, but because it is certain none of these seven heads is seen in the later domination which has the eighth head,[17] the pope, as we shall hereafter see, the blasphemies of the later beast ought not be applied to the former.

 And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, and his feet like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like a lion’s mouth, and the dragon gave him his own strength and his own seat, and also great power.

For as the dragon is called by Christ, the prince of this world, reigning spiritually and invisibly under heaven with his other wicked spirits, the rulers of darkness, even so, he gives his strength, seat and power to this beast, the pope, that she might reign in his stead, bodily and visibly, by the dragon’s motions and instigations……….

 ……Now therefore, there remaineth that we hear what manner this last beast is, and how she did put up her head again, which thing the angel and interpreter of the vision clearly teaches us by saying,

 The beast who thou sawest, was and is not, and shall ascend out of the deep, dark pit, and shall go into his own destruction, that is, into everlasting damnation, (whose cause we shall hear afterward), and the inhabitants of the earth shall marvel at him, whose names be not written in the book of life from the creation of the world, when they see the beast that was and is not, that is, when she puts up her head again.

For as the gentiles sometimes marveled at the monarchy of the Caesars, so do the superstitious and ungodly marvel at this last domination of Rome. But the angel proceeded in speaking the prophecy,

 Here it behooveth understanding with wisdom: The seven heads are the seven hills upon which the woman sitteth, and they be seven kings, five be fallen, one is, and the other is not yet come. But when he shall come, he must tarry a short time. And the beast that was and is not (that is, the former empire), he is the eighth, (that is to say, the former empire or domination shall come and fall to the pope whose domination will become equal to and even greater in power than was the domination of the Caesars.) But he is the eighth, and of the seventh, and goes into his own destruction…..

For these seven heads must first fall, and the former beast, the secular Roman Empire be utterly destroyed before the later domination of the pope (Satan exciting it), be sprung up. For in this last domination of Rome there shall reign neither Kings, nor Counselors, nor Tenmen, nor Dictators, nor the Threemen, nor Caesars as before, but the eighth beast, even the Popes alone, which nevertheless are said to be of the seven because he is in many ways involved in secular, profane businesses, and in battles and bloodshedding like the foreign former Caesars and Emperors, which were the last head among the seven. In this one thing does he chiefly differ from them: whereas they reigned openly through civil government, and publicly impugned the word of God with weapons, this beast, the Popes, under the cloak and color of [Christian] religion reigneth, and under the pretext of the true interpretation thereof he corrupteth, falsifieth, and perverteth the doctrine of Christ. The sacraments he despiseth with his own additions and abuses, and the articles of our faith he blotteth out of the bible with his own false, added articles. The doctrines of the devil he establishes by the authority of men, enforcing them with the sword, as policies of the realms. And like the forlorn child and son of perdition, with all his followers and confederates (oh terrible word!) he goeth on into everlasting death and damnation. But let us hear John again speak yet further of this vision:

 And there was given him a mouth speaking great things and proud blasphemies.

John is no longer referring to the marks of the former domination of Rome in the past. He now paints for us what manner of beast was afterward to come, predicting that Rome, once again, should put up her head, but this time by the popes’ domination, and arise, as it were, out of the waters. For John saith not, She hath a mouth, but rather, She hath a mouth given her to speak. “To speak great things,” after the Hebrew phrase, is to speak arrogantly and proudly boasting himself and to glory in his own mischief, which verily do the popes, while at the same time they boast themselves to be vicars of Christ, occupying God’s place. Yea, and to be a God himself, when they compare themselves to the sun and emperors to the moon, and with infinite other arrogant exaltations show themselves to be above God and man. Also, the pope speaks blasphemies when he damns Christ’s gospel because of heresies, the wrong use of the sacraments, setting forth his own damnable doctrine and superstitions to be observed and believed above and against God’s eternal word and instructions. In these things the new Roman beast remains similar to the old Roman beast. For the former domination also had a mouth speaking great and stout things.

 And there was power given to her to make battle, or to do mischief, 42 months.

And here is the principle head of this matter by which we treat all the numeric passages of Daniel and John. By this time frame the pope’s domination is like the former which endured time, times and half a time. And as it was true in that place it holds true here that we must understand angelic time by converting 42 months, [containing 30 days each], to 1260 days. This, then, is converted to 1260 years, using a day to represent one year. This is proved out of Apocalypse 12, where we are told that the 1260 days determined equals time, times and ½ a time.[18] ……..

 I cannot but exceedingly and vehemently marvel how it should happen that men, I will not call them learned, but ignorant and unlettered, who have only a crumb of human reason and intelligence, should be brought to believe that all these things which John in this place and Paul to the Thessalonians have prophesied of this beast might be accomplished in the space of 3 ½ years! Especially so, since the manner of things prophesied, if fully written down in detail, word by word, would require an unwearied, marvelously swift reader who could even possibly read them in 3 ½ years! Furthermore, it is impossible that such stories of exploits could even be divulged and published abroad across all Christendom with a lively voice in the space of 3 years. So expansive is Christendom that it would be nearly impossible to cover the entire area with such a report in 3 or 4 years; yea, even though Antichrist should have a swift winged host! But because of the ingratitude of mankind [to God’s grace in Christ], they have deserved to be smitten with this so great blindness because men hath not acknowledged, with thanks, the benefits of Christ. But of this matter we shall speak more hereafter when we come to the prophecies of Paul.

 And he opened his mouth to speak forth blasphemies against God, to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle and them that dwell in heaven.

When a man blasphemes the word, he cannot but blaspheme the name of God also. Of this sin the Pope’s guilt is magnified when he perverts the words of the Lord’s Supper, wrestling them violently to his fleshly eating and bloody drinking, damning as heresy the true use of both the bread and cup instituted by Christ. The Pope no less blasphemes God’s word while he forbids priests to marry and forbids certain meats, establishing thereby the doctrine of devils. This he decrees in opposition to Paul, who clearly says, A Bishop is to be the husband of one wife, and all things are to be clean to the pure. The pope, therefore, blasphemeth the name of God.

 In the 8th chapter of Daniel, where it is prophesied of Antiochus, we are given the interpretation of what it means to blaspheme the temple of God and them that dwell in heaven.

 Out of one of them there went forth a little horn and it was magnified and extolled up into the strength, tower, or tabernacle of heaven, and he threw down some of the stars, treading them under his feet.

So it is a certain truth, that Daniel understood that by the tabernacle of heaven the temple of God was meant, and by the stars, the holy men in the people of Israel were meant. And even so does the Pope blaspheme the church of God and His holy faithful, calling them heretics, saying that there is no hope of salvation except we hold fast upon the Pope and be subservient to the court of Rome. For he says there is no true hope of salvation except one abide in complete obedience to his devilish laws and doctrine. I could tell of infinite other ways in which the Pope fulfills this prophecy, but it would require another treatise.

 And it was given him to make battle with the holy faithful and to overcome them.

So great is the might and power of the lies, deceit, false-colored doctrine, false miracles and hypocrisy of the Popedom that even the very holy and faithful men shall seem to be overcome, being taken for heretics when the Pope declares and damns them as such. But though these things will take place we need always perceive and remember well we are not to abhor and fear his blasphemies. For the prophecy warns us that he will blaspheme not the evil men, but rather the good and the very true church, even God’s holy faithful. Therefore, we are to be joyful and rejoice when we be thus blasphemed of him. Yet at the same time we are commanded to have nothing to do with the abominable beast, that we are to eschew, loathe, and abhor him.

 And there was given him power over all the tribes and people and tongues and folk.

This doth the angel interpret where he saith:

 The ten horns that thou sawest are ten kings which yet have not received their kingdom, but with the beast shall they in one hour receive power as kings. These have one counsel and shall deliver up their power to the beast…..

That is to say: As the first domination had ten provinces ruled by the counselors, even so shall the second domination (when the beast is now waxed strong) have her ten kings, as I said before. For what was before one united Roman Empire is now divided into ten kingdoms, of which every one has her king, but in John’s time this had not yet occurred, for the beast had not yet put up her head and horns. Therefore the angel says they had not yet received their kingdom.

By the phrase in one hour receive power is meant that the kings will not reign in succession, one after another, as did the seven heads in the secular Roman Empire, but rather they will reign all at the same time, as we see them reign today. For these kings with one counsel or decree deliver up their power to the Pope, that is to say, with a little secret consent they humbly acknowledge the Pope to be their head, revering him as the vicar of Christ, submitting themselves and their people unto him. And in this way did the beast get power over every kindred, tribe, people, tongue and folk, as far and wide as Christendom itself. For when he would govern and rule under the holy pretense of religion, he had hopes his power would extend to the infidels.

 And all that inhabit the earth shall worship the beast, whose names be not written in the book of the living Lamb which was slain from the beginning of the world.

God, who is rich in mercy, for his exceeding love wherewith he loved us when we were dead in sins, he revived us that truly believed in Christ, and hath made us to sit in heavenly seats, as Paul writes to the Ephesians. Wherefore when the Pope blasphemes us, he blasphemes the dwellers in heaven. But they whose names be not written in the book of life, they dwell in the earth, for they favor only earthly things, and therefore they worship the beast.

 Whoso have ears, let him hear. Whoso leadeth into captivity himself goeth into captivity. He that slayeth with sword shall be with sword slain. And here is the patience and faith of the saints.

That is to say: If any man, having heard these things spoken previously, still does not know the identity of this beast, let him at least understand this one thing, if he can but now hear this last saying. For [the Spirit is telling us that] where, for the sake of the faith and true doctrine of Christ the holy faithful be led into bondage because of men’s traditions, smitten with sword, or by any other means slain, which treatment is suffered openly and without shame, (for in our day many have been slain, and many others imprisoned and persecuted for marrying their lawful wives, and that with good conscience, or for preaching and professing the truth, who will worship no idols, receiving both parts of the Lord’s Supper, not just the Body), where these things occur is to be found the kingdom of the beast, whom God so hateth and detesteth He will utterly measure her with the same measurement wherewith the beast measured the saints. For at her appointed time He will say, Render to her as she hath given to us. Give her twice double according to her own deeds. For the cup that she hath mingled for you, fill hers twice full. And as much she hath magnified herself, sitting in her delicate ease and pleasures, reward her in kind with torments and wailings.[19]

 And I saw another beast arising and ascending out of the earth.

And this beast signifieth, as does the other, a certain kingdom, not of one man, but of a certain, great, confused, filthy swarm, who, by a certain conspiracy and filthy consent swarm together en masse, as though they were one body. And who is this beast? John himself interprets it in Chap. 19, calling her the false prophets which makes wonders and miracles before the [first] beast.[20] This beast, therefore, signifieth the false flock, the stinking dunghill, the conjured coven and kingdom of all the false teachers and preachers, even the Pope’s ulcerous spirituality in all of Popedom. And this beast is said to ascend and climb out of the earth, to distinguish it from the beast who ascends out of the sea. For the water is thicker and a more easily seen element than the air, and therefore it brings forth greater and more plainly flagrant beasts. And as the water signifies many people who comprise those of inferior intelligence, who thrive of rumor and tumults, in whom increases the love of voluptuousness, and the lust to reign, even so, rising from the earth signifieth men of superior intelligence and genius; for it is in the air and not in the water that they are created, and in which they are to live. This beast is, therefore, risen up out of learned and ingenious men who are ungodly. This most mighty and mischievous multitude is found at Rome.

 And she had two horns like a lamb, but she spake as the dragon.

The Lamb is Christ, who fighteth not with any corporal sword, but with His spiritual horns; that is to say, with His word which is divided into two horns; that is to say, into the word of the law, which is the word of wrath and death, and into the word of the gospel, which is the word of health,[21] grace and life. And even so hath this beast or college of false Prophets a double doctrine. One they call the doctrine of faith, and the other the doctrine of good manners or morals. But they are both contaminated and corrupt with errors. In spite of this, these men retain the outward color and glittering show of Christian theologians who teach God’s word. For in carrying out their pretense, their horns signify those of the Lamb’s. But in fulfilling their office, they speak like the dragon. Christ witnesses that the dragon is Satan, who stands not in the truth, but is a liar and the father thereof. And when he speaks lies, he speaks them out of his own head.[22] And likewise these false teachers stand not in the pure doctrine of Christ, but speak forth, and teach us their own dreams and cogitations based on their perverted understanding of the scriptures.

 And he doeth all power of the former beast in the presence of him.

This beast comprised of the false teachers serveth, ministereth, upholdeth and defendeth the Pope’s kingdom, while he sits carefree, living a life of ease, exempt from all God’s commandments pertaining to lusts and pleasures, and (as say the Italians) triumphs at home in all security.

 And he maketh the earth and the dwellers therein to fall down and worship the first, chief or head beast.

That is to say, the Lordly beast that rules from his seat in Rome. For his Bishops, Cardinals, Priests, and preachers teach that he holds the primacy and to be supreme head of the Church, by God’s law. But they lie.

 Whose deadly wound was healed.

As the heathen had once the invincible stability of the Roman monarchy, as I explained before, even so had they it again when Rome, though now fallen from the rule of Emperors, had by the Popedom erected herself gloriously and proudly up again. The superstitious and ungodly, whose names be not written in the Book of Life, began to wonder, having  admiration for the invincible majesty of the Papacy, as well as the primacy of the proud Romish Bishop, which same admiration they held for the ancient Roman Empire, thanking God for His purpose in establishing the Roman monarchy that it would continue undefeated, through the ascension of the Papacy.

 And he doeth great wonders and miracles, so that he will make fire fall down from heaven into the earth in the sight of all men.

In II Thess. 2, St. Paul calleth these wonders, signs and miracles, and prodigious lies. For they are partly comprised of deceitful tricks played on the gullible, as when they bore through wooden images, secretly pouring water inside, so that they appear to be crying real tears; or when they use oil instead to make them appear to sweat; or when the priests concocted an elaborate scheme with lit candles creeping through the churches in the middle of the night to prove the souls of the dead in purgatory returned to plead for the peoples’ help in Masses and sufferings on All-Souls Day! They are also partly comprised of mere fabrications, as when the Romanists tell stories of weeping images which speak and move, or that the souls which have returned from purgatory confirm that Masses said on their behalf, payment being made to the priests, will deliver them. These and infinite other lying signs and wonders have stirred up so great a devotion in the fond, ignorant people, that the fire of the Holy Ghost seemed, by these beasts’ false doctrine and their even more false miracles written and preached with so great confidence, to be burning in the hearts of these superstitious folk.

 And he seduceth the dwellers in the earth with his prodigious tokens and wonders, which were given him to make in the presence of the beast, speaking to and bidding the dwellers in the earth that they make the image of the beast, which hath the deadly wound of the sword, and yet liveth.

Of this repetitious mention of his deadly wound which was, nevertheless, healed, it plainly appears that we are to compare the domination of the Papal kingdom to the domination of the Roman Empire. For the mouth speaking so stout things, the ten horns, and Gog and Magog are common to both. Ezekiel prophesied of the former domination, but John spoke of the latter. So that as the monarchy of Julius Caesar seemed to be utterly exterminated by the sword, and yet was revived, even so the monarchy of the Pope was wounded to death by the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, when Christ said to His Apostles and their successors, yea, and even to Peter, that the kings of the heathen shall lord it over them, but so do not you.[23] And the African counsel decreed out of the word of God that no Bishop, no not the Bishop of Rome, ought to be called the Prince of Priests, or chief head or ruler, or overseer of the Church, or the highest priest over all, or even universal Bishop. By this we see it impossible for them to have condoned that any man should be called Papa, that is, Father of all Fathers, Pope. (English Distin. 99, ca Prim.) This beast had never so deadly a head wound as the sword of God’s word hath now given him in these last 30 years, since Erasmus, Martin Luther, Zwingli, Oecolampadius, Melanchthon, Pellicane, Bullinger, Bibliander, Bucer, Calvin, including many more greatly learned and godly men, have begun to write, teach and preach. To combat them in greater fierceness and strength the beast employs all his sworn sergeants, the Popish Pharisees and Antichristian writers and teachers, including Sir Thomas More, Chancellor of England, Cocleus, Eccius, Steven Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, etc., with all their sworn swarm of friars, Cardinals and Bishops……who have on their side many blind Kings and Princes of the earth. The more fierce, I say, are his sinful superstitious sergeants, both secular and spiritual, because it is by threat of pain, fire and sword that they contend and enforce his laws so as to heal the beast’s deadly wound given him with God’s word. But in spite of this, the more incurably do the beast’s wounds fester, the deeper is the rot and the wider it waxeth to his present destruction and death. These things you see in this day as the almighty merciful power of God resists their cursed cure, fighting against the envious enforcements of the Emperor, Pope and all Kings contending to heal the Pope’s wound with their friarly Pharisaical physicians. But who would have believed this first [ancient Roman] domination so openly and justly condemned and wounded by Christ [and Christians], would live again [through the Papacy, Rome’s later domination]? And yet after having received these deadly wounds, she lived, even unto this day, but never so sick as now.

And therefore his false theologians, foolish sergeants, and false prophets ever so false, have pretended the beast to hold the dominion and primacy by the law and word of God, persuading men that the image of this beast is fabricated and set up. For as the image of God is the word of God, so is the image of the Papacy the word, doctrine and traditions of the Pope. For he is set up in the temple of God, boasting and affirming himself for God. And in so doing he counterfeits God, by begetting his word, doctrine, rites, ceremonies and traditions out of his own brain, after his own Antichristian image. Since then the doctrine of the Papacy, which these false defenders defend and false teachers do teach, has doubled; that is to say, of faith and morals are these two books necessarily compiled: the Book of their Sentences and their book of decrees and decretals, which are the very selfsame image of the Papacy, lively expressing all their fashion and form, their faith, their life, religion and merciless morals.

And thus it clearly appeareth that this later beast is comprised of the lying theologians of the Scholastic Divinity Schools turning and studying the master of their Sentences,[24] the holy Bible so neglected that many of them never read it, nor have it in their schools. And of the scholars of their common law who treat the filthy devilish decrees of Popes, among whom are the Inquisitors of Heretical Depravity (as they call them), they worthily obtain the highest place, coming in the place of the head to execute his tyrannical office and mercies by burning. All these men instructed and armed with the devilish double doctrine of the Papacy, as it were, symbolized by their two mighty horns, fight for and defend the Pope’s kingdom.

 And it was given to him that he should give spirit and breath to the image of the beast, that the beast’s image might speak.

That is to say, this later beast comprised of these false teachers hath, in effect, brought to pass this prophecy through setting up and implementing the doctrine of the Pope, which is the image of the beast, have given it bold breath, with a spirit to live and speak. For by their counsels, conspiracies, convocations, and persuasions have they effectually made it necessary that the popish doctrine must be taught in all schools and universities, reigning and ruling in all that is preached in the pulpits of their spiritual courts, and sessions. Yea, indeed, this is how his image lives and speaks. For with secular authority not only is he thus taught and preached, but also according to the same authorities his life must be esteemed, and in his kingdom his judgment must stand. And by this we are to understand why John calls this beast the dunghill of false teachers; that is to say, to be a certain filthy, vicious kingdom. For it is plainly no little kingdom that they obtain in the Church, but is as strong, fast and terrible as that same former Imperial beast, Emperor that he was and is.[25] The people, small and great, are taught and compelled to fear these prelates and to fall down and kiss the cloven stinking feet of their head, the Pope.[26] And therefore no man is created Doctor of Divinity or of Canon Law in Popedom, unless he swears this oath:

 “I shall aid in defending, maintaining and retaining the Papacy against all men.”

And by so doing, they truly establish and confirm all this latter beast’s power before her, at her beck and pleasure, as was stated before.

 And he shall bring it diligently into effect, that whosoever will not worship and fall down before the image of this beast, he shall be slain.

Whoever does not believe this Popish doctrine to be equal, yea, and above God’s word, and by this worship him and it, he is judged and condemned a heretic by the Inquisition. If he refuses to recant, he is burned. For the Pope dares to say that all his constitutions are to be highly regarded as if they proceeded from the voice of God, out of St. Peter’s mouth. (Distin. 19; Cha. 6.)

 And he maketh both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond to take his character[27] in their right hands or in their foreheads, and no man may buy or sell, except he hath his character or name of the beast or the number of his name. And here is wisdom: he that hath understanding let him reckon and count the number of this beast. For it is the discourse and the number of a man, and his number is 666.

To receive the character or mark of the beast is a metaphor and can be translated “speech;” as if to say, how a man outwardly displays himself, including how he speaks, other men may see and hear. And by seeing and hearing him, they may come to understand that in all facets and factions he behaves, fashions and conforms himself to the beast’s family or church, being in subjection to him, sworn to serve the beast. A modern-day example is seen in the male servants of courts who have their Lord’s or master’s badge or crest upon their coats.

The character or mark of the beast and her number and her name are to be taken for the same thing. John commandeth them that understand the words hitherto spoken to reckon and count the number of the name of the beast, so that if they can justly find the number 666 in her name, then they are of the few to have the very knowledge of this beast, and to see her in her true colors sitting like the whore of Babylon, even in her seat at Rome. John sheweth himself to have in mind the Hebrew and Greek tongue here, as he does in other places, such as in calling the angel of the abyss, Abaddon, and in the name of the place of battle, Armageddon. For “sepher” [28]in Hebrew signifieth a book or scripture or number, wherefore he alludes so diversely in the word, calling it the name of the beast in one place, the number of the beast in another place, the mark of the beast, the character of the beast….in other words, the scripture of the beast. I admonished the reader earlier to consider the number of the Hebrew name of the fourth beast in Daniel. For all the letters of the Hebrews designate certain numbers, as do our Latin letters; e.g., M = 1000; L = 100; etc. But, in addition, with the Hebrews every scripture and every word is a certain number.

Now since this beast by her common name in the Hebrew tongue is called the Roman kingdom, and the name ‘kingdom’ is common with the other beasts, it is manifest the very true and proper name of this beast is Romanum imperium, wherefore thou seest how diligent this author was to hide her name under these letters, lest men should then have realized he spoke of Rome instead of the her being revealed indirectly, by her fulfilling Daniel’s and John’s description. Therefore, the Spirit did not openly name her Rome because He did not wish to exasperate her until the latter days, when her wickedness is fully ripe, her last deadly wound cause by her resisting God’s holy Gospel. He calleth this name of the beast the number of a man, either because it is a known name which all men commonly use, or else because from a man (Romulus) the city first got her name. The Greek letters wherewith this number 666 is written, also make up this word, Lateinos, which name Virgil also gave to Rome. But the Hebrew letters make Romah, which signifies a proud beast.

The mark, therefore, of this name, they are said to receive in their foreheads, which in all their outward superstitious proud habits and gestures, and at once in their “first front”[29] (as they say) they show it, even in their first, proud, solemn countenance and high looks and crowns,[30] do they declare themselves to be sworn subjects and servants to the Romish beast, as do also the hooded friars and monks, and shorn, polled priests and Bishops. And in their right hands they bear his mark, which by some certain popish works of his commandments, rites, and institutions they testify to their obedience to the Pope.

 For example, they obey his commandments not to eat flesh on certain days, or to confess into a priest’s ears during Lent, or in Mass to mumble prayers which are not to be understood, etc. For Roman Catholics are trained to perform such outward displays of obedience from their youth. Those who have not such a mark, nor will receive it, are taken by the Church of Rome as heathen miscreants. If the dissenters condemn the commandments, rites, and institutions of the Roman Church, they are then accursed and excluded from Catholic men’s company. And if the Catholic people do not obey the excommunication, then the Pope interdicts their churches, whereby no divine service [Mass] may be celebrated by the priest, nor may hymns be sung. And so, in very deed, might the disobedient who had not taken this Romish beast’s brand neither buy nor sell. Now I shall yet bring forth a few more words of the Angel’s interpretation of this vision that we might better understand the final end and destruction of this abominable beast.

 The ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings. These shall fight with the Lamb.

That is to say, they shall persecute the true doctrine, partly out of ignorance, seduced by the Pope, and partly out of greed for his money and aid if they do his pleasures, whom they covet greatly to please (as now of late doth the Emperor). But the Lamb shall overcome them, for He is the Lord of lords and King of kings. And the called and chosen faithful which are with Him shall fight against this beast. For Christ shall not Himself fight, but will use His instruments. He fights not with sword, but with the word of God, and with just arguments taken out of the scriptures. This is especially true in our time, where, after the 30th Jubilee of the Church, Christ is once again beginning to preach, as we said before in the third conjecture. And by this preaching, kings shall be overcome, little by little, as even today many kings and rulers are overcome [by the word of God,] and with great acclaim and praise have received the truth now known. By this we have much hope the rest will also receive the most evident truth, especially if we continue to conduct mighty warfare through our prayers. Whereof at last it shall follow that they shall hate this whore, even the court of Rome for her abominations and seductions, and shall make her desolate and naked, and eat her flesh; that is to say, her riches, robbing her of all her possessions and substance, burning up her city as it was once burned before. For God, (saith the Angel), has placed it in their hearts to do His pleasure and will, that they should give their kingdom to the beast until the words of God are finished. And here (oh reader) I would thou shouldest diligently weigh the words of the Angel, as they are most worthy to be noted. For when he spoke of the ten kings previously as having one unified counsel and decree by which they deliver their strength and power to the beast, he did not say that this counsel and decree was from God. It is only with respect to robbing and burning the whore with fire that God moved them to obey His will and decree by placing this desire in their hearts. For though in the past the kings extolled the Pope, they did so by their own will and good pleasure. But when they shall soon spoil and burn the whore, this they do by the counsel and good pleasure of God.

Both of these acts – the one that they in past times extolled her, and the other that they shall soon rob her - flowed forth from the hidden judgment of God. For the first, in exalting, reverencing and magnifying the Pope, and in giving him their authority, strength and power, they did it verily by the private counsel of God. By so doing, they fulfilled the words of God spoken by the Apostle Paul, saying:

Because many shall not receive the love of the truth that thereby they might be saved, therefore God shall send them men, teaching errors and working false miracles, that they believe lies and that all be condemned who believe not the truth, but consent to wickedness.

Afterward, they shall at the last rob and spoil the Pope and burn up the city. They shall not do this until God puts it in their hearts by His word, illumining them, so that they shall know themselves to be in the right, accomplishing this in due time, fulfilling the will of God by utterly subverting and overthrowing the Papacy.

Wherefore it is not possible the Turk shall be the instrument to destroy the Papacy, as some men think. For one devil shall not cast out another,[31] nor can any not of the confederacy of the ten kings go against the Pope to destroy him in battle. For scripture tells us it is given unto him to overcome the holy faithful until the words of God be fulfilled,[32] which in this day is nearing completion. But there yet remains one thing which pertains to the shame, ignominy, misery and confusion of the abominable Papacy: That he will be destroyed by those same Emperors and Kings, by whom his office was established and in whom he most trusted, and whom he most dignified and magnified with his flattering and lying titles to be his Defenders of his Faith, his first begotten sons, most Catholic Kings, most Christian Kings, etc. By these same Kings shall he at last be plucked up by the roots, to the most high joy of all the holy faithful saints, who will break into Hallelujahs and praise before God, singing,

Health,[33] honor, glory, and power be to the Lord our God, for true and just are his judgments done upon the great whore which hath corrupted and polluted the earth with her unashamed whoredom, and hath avenged the blood of his servants delivered out of her hands.[34]

These words out of John should suffice [to explain our case against the papal Antichrist].

Osiander Interprets II Thessalonians 2

Now let us also hear Paul writing to the Thessalonians:

 We pray that you brethren, regarding the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering into him, be not soon carried away of your own opinion, neither troubled by spirit, nor by an epistle as if it went forth by us, as though the day of Christ were now at hand, let no man deceive you in any wise. For the Lord will not come to the last judgment, except there come before a departing or a falling away.

By the ‘falling away’ is meant the provinces shall fall away from the Roman Empire, resulting in the fall and destruction of the Roman kingdom.

 And the man of sin and son of perdition is completed and then to be revealed.

That is to say, the Pope of Rome.

 Who is against God and is extolled and lifted up above the most high God and above whatsoever is worshipped as god, so that even in the temple of God….

That is to say, in the Church; (as it is said), The temple of God is holy, which temple be you.

…..he will sit…..

That is to say, he will occupy the chair and seat, pulpit, place or office to teach and rule all men.

  …..shewing himself and boasting as if he were God.

For his own theologians of canon law affirm the Pope not to be a pure man, but to have received from God the fullness of His power.

 Remember ye not when I was yet with you I told ye these things?

Paul is speaking the same truths which are written in the Revelation.

 And now what yet letteth ye know, that he be not revealed until his time. For even now he worketh his secret mystical mischief.

For the Bishops of Rome, with their carnal clerks, Bishops and Cardinals (for very few of them were good), even from the time of the Apostles, aspired privily unto the domination and lordship, insomuch that in the passage of time they have oppressed the whole universal Church…..For so long as the monarchy of the Caesars flourished at Rome, they could not break forth and challenge other Bishops for the dominion in the Church.

 Only so that he that now holdeth, let him hold fast, till he be taken out of the seat.

The monarchy of the Caesars and Emperors which rule over all (saith he) let them stand and hold fast their kingdom until the Empire is translated from Rome to Constantinople, or until the former domination of the city of Rome has evolved into the Pope’s primacy, which occurred when they feigned themselves to have had such a rich gift of Peter’s patrimony by the legacy of the Emperor Constantine.[35]

 And then shall that wicked Antichrist be disclosed.

And even then did the eighth head, the Pope, stick forth his horns and raise up his head, as it is heretofore said in the Revelation.

 Whom the Lord shall slay with the breath of his mouth.

That is to say, with the power of His word, which after the 30th Jubilee of the Church, shall be openly again preached with a mighty Spirit.

 And he shall destroy him with the brightness of his coming.

For as the gray morning cometh before the sun, even so shall the fiery preaching of the pure Gospel precede the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness. For Christ said, This Gospel of my kingdom (of which Christ is the King – not the Pope!) shall be preached in the universal world as a testimony of for all nations, and then shall the end come.[36] For this clear preaching of the Gospel shall destroy the domination of the Pope, as it hath now begun.[37] Amen. For his domination shall not endure unto Christ’s coming, or else how shall it be fulfilled that which John says of the ten kings leaving the beast desolate and naked, her flesh eaten up, and at the last, burn her up, God having put this in their hearts?

 Whose coming is with the work of Satan in great power with lying signs and feigned miracles, and with wicked, strong illusions greatly deceives them that are forsaken.

This is that most holy sanctity of our most holy prelate, the Pope.

 And because they have not received the love of the truth thereby to be saved, therefore shall God send them the working of error to believe lies, that they all be damned that have not believed the truth, but have consented to wickedness.

These things hath Paul prophesied of the last domination and fall of Rome and of her Papacy. Wherefore ye people of Christ get ye out speedily far from her, lest ye be partakers of her wickedness and be plagued also with the beast and her unclean clergy, as the Angel crieth in the Revelation unto us.[38] And as for the Emperor of Rome, though he is still so-called, yet doth not possess Rome, neither dare he once to look toward that place without the Pope’s consent, which city’s extreme wickedness has come to pass as predicted in scripture, by the execrable subtlety of the serpent and his vicar, the Pope of Rome. For this same cause if any man should be so bold as to once open his mouth to lay any of these oracles and prophecies against the execrable wickedness and intolerable Romish domination over our faith, he should appear to object it against the Emperor’s majesty because he still bears the name of the domination of Rome, though, in reality, he is no lord thereof. But the thing itself declareth clearly the evident difference enough between the Emperor’s domination over Rome and the Pope’s domination, the one as Emperor, the other as Pope. There is, therefore, no peril in calling either the Emperor or Pope of Rome Antichrist because their confederation and conjuration in this day against the Lord and His word declare them such. But let us at last return to our conjecture.

 Since it is given to the beast, who is now once again putting up her head to exercise and execute her tyranny, 42 Roman months[39] which are comprised of 30 days each, in other words, 1260 days. In its prophetic context we are to understand and calculate these days as Angelic days, taking a day for a year, or 1260 years. This being so, once this time period is fulfilled it cannot be doubted that the end of the world is anon at hand. But the question remains, at what point in history shall we begin to count these years?........... 



[1] The few, slight alterations to the original text by this editor are for ease in comprehension only.

[2] Nuremberg pastor whose specialty was the study and teaching of prophecy, (d. 1565). His other works include Wondrous Prophecy of the Papacy, 1527.

[3] Rev. 6:9-11.

[4] Luke 21:28.

[5] Luke 21:34.

[6] Matt. 25:1-13.

[7] Rev. 13:10.

[8] Rev. 18:4.

[9] I.e., papal Rome.

[10] I.e., dynasty.

[11] Decemvirs.

[12] Triumvirs.

[13] In the sense of foreign, or alien.

[14] Speaking of the Emperors who would rule the Empire from Constantinople.

[15] Ten Proconsuls who ruled the ten Roman Provinces.

[16] Prophetic oracles made by the pagan prophetess, Sibyl.

[17] Rev. 17:11.

[18] Cf. Rev. 12:6 & 12:14.

[19] Rev. 18:6-7.

[20] Rev. 19:20.

[21] I.e., salvation.

[22] I.e., not from the Word of God.

[23] Luke 22:25-26.

[24] Peter Lombard.

[25] Speaking of the present Roman Emperor, Charles V.

[26] Speaking of the display of submission by kissing the Pope’s feet.

[27] Joye uses the literal translation from the Latin, which we render as ‘mark.’

[28] Strong’s Hebrew Concordance: # 5612, with related words including 5608 and 5615.

[29] They are marked on their forehead, in the sign of the cross, for the first time at baptism.

[30] I.e., shaved hairline.

[31] Matt. 12:26.

[32] Daniel 7:21.

[33] I.e., salvation.

[34] Rev. 19:1-3.

[35] I. e., the fraudulent Donation of Constantine which consisted of papal sovereignty and ownership of much of Italy.

[36] Matthew 24:14.

[37] Osiander, like all the Reformers, believed the Pope’s downfall to be eminent. Today in the 21st century we see a resurgence of papal worship by the kings of the earth. He is considered a godly Christian man, a great humanitarian.

[38] Rev. 18:4.

[39] Rev. 13:5.