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The Explanation Of The Apocalypse

v. 1. Come. The multitude of the lost which left the Creator, and prostituted itself to commit adultery with demons, is spoken of as sitting upon the waves, that is, the discord of the peoples. But on the contrary, “of the multitude of the believers there was one heart and one soul,” whom the Apostle “espoused to one husband, to present them a pure virgin to Christm.”

2. kings. The whole is superior to its parts. For the king and inhabitants of the earth are all those who seek proudly for earthly things, whom through the lust of vices, the allurement of the world defiles, and madness of the mind makes drunk.

3. wilderness. By the wilderness, he represents the absence of Deity, Whose presence is paradise.

scarlet beast. The devil, through ungodliness, blood-stained, blasphemous, inflated with the arrogance of presumption, extols the corruption of the wicked.

seven. That is, which has both the kings and kingdoms of the world, whose glory he also shewed to the Lord upon the mountain. For as we said before, universality is often indicated both by the number seven, and the number ten.

4. purple. In purple is shewn the false appearance of simulated rule, in scarlet the blood-stained dress of ungodliness.

gilded. That is, with all the allurements of simulated truth. Lastly, he explains what is within this beauteousness, as follows.

cup. The golden cup full of abominations is hypocrisy, because hypocrites “outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within are full of all uncleanness.”

5. forehead. This corrupter at once on her very countenance is shewn to be the nurse of vices. But because she is only discerned by wisdom and prudence, especially under precious ornament, it is indicated that this is a mystical name.

6. saints. There is one body adverse within and without, and although it may seem separate in place, yet it acts in common by unity of spirit. So the ancestors of the wicked are in sense accused of stoning Zacharias, though they did it not themselves.

8. was, and is not. That is to say, the devil aforetime ruled in the world, and when the Lord was crucified, he was cast out. But at the end of the world he is loosed from the stronghold of his prison, and by the breath of the Lord’s mouth will perish for ever. Tichonius refers the beast to the whole body of the devil, which is made up by the course of generations, as they pass away and succeed each other; for this reason above others, that he shews the woman sitting upon the beast, whom he had promised to shew sitting upon the waters, that is, the peoples.

9. heads. The heads of the beast, he says, are the kings of the world, who through the swelling of pride are said to be like exceeding high mountains, on whom there rests a wanton ungodliness, so that they both oppress by violence, and deceive by fraud.

10. five. Seeing that he had described in the number seven the fulness of worldly dominion, the last part of which, that is, the kingdom of Antichrist, had not yet come; he now accordingly testifies that five kings had passed away, that the sixth was present, that the seventh was to come.

short space. Because the Lord beholds us both proud and weak, he says, that the days which he has introduced as singularly evil, are mercifully shortened; in truth, that he may both alarm their pride by the adversity of the time, and refresh their weakness by the shortness of it.

11. eighth. Antichrist, who is to reign at the end of the age, because of the unity of the body of the ungodly of which he is the head, pertains to the number of the kingdoms of the world. But because of his singular power of wickedness, he is also retained in the order of his own proper place.

12. horns. The kingdoms of the world have not yet fully displayed their power in persecuting the Church. For although these even now have rule over the greatest part, yet there will be the stronger power of insane boasting when they have also deceived such by signs. Some understand it, that when the last persecution draws near, there will be ten kings who are to divide the world between, them; according to the prophecy of Daniel also, who said of the fourth beast, “And he had ten horns; and behold another little horn came up from the midst of them, and three of the first horns were plucked up before his face;” and that Antichrist who should arise from Babylon, should subdue the king of Egypt, and of Africa, and that after they were slain, seven other kings should also submit their necks to the conqueror. But others say that Antichrist is placed in the number eleven, to signify prevarication. For eleven indicates a departure from the perfection of the number ten.

as kings. He says, “as kings,” because they only reign as in a dream, who oppose the kingdom of Christ.

13. mind. That is, with like consent they make war for the devil with all their will. For this is to receive a kingdom after the beast, by imitating the devil to be adversaries of Christ.

14. overcome. That the weakness of man might not fear the cruelty of the old enemy, he describes the beast which has seven heads, and is armed with the horns of a secular kingdom, as vanquished by Christ triumphant: and then, to denote that He is triumphant in His own, he has added the following.

chosen. He has well premised chosen, for “many are called, but few chosen.”

16. hate. They will begin to hate with extreme abhorrence the glory of the world, which they now embrace with wanton love, when at the end they see, now that the Lamb is conqueror, that they themselves are to be condemned. It may also be otherwise understood, either that there are always contentions among the proud; or, that every one “who loves iniquity hates his own soul.”

desolate. For they make the world waste through the wrath of God, while they are given up to it, and use it unrighteously.

flesh. When she is deprived of her accustomed delights, they will burn her in the fires of hell.

17. hearts. God, the Judge, he says, just and mighty, and to Whom justice is always pleasing, for the punishment of their former sins suffered the ungodly to do such things, for whose sake He might with reason bring to an end the whole world; as the Gospels testify to have been done in the instance of Sodom, and of the flood.

give. That is, that they should obey the devil until the Scriptures should be fulfilled, in which God said, that in the time of the fourth kingdom He would bring the earth to its consummation; as we read in Daniel, “There shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth, which shall be more powerful than all these kingdoms, and shall devour, and overthrow, and destroy the whole earthy.”

18. city. So also below, when he was bidden to behold the Lamb’s wife, he saw the holy city coming down from heaven; and when he described it, he said, “And the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it.” For there are two cities in the world, the one proceeding from the abyss, the other from heaven. And therefore he now compares the same ungodliness, which he had described under the appearance of a harlot naked and burned up, with the ruins of a deserted city.








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