|CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX||A||B||C||D||E||F||G||H||I||J||K||L||M||N||O||P||Q||R||S||T||U||V||W||X||Y||Z|
HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT
Ver. 1. I saw a beast coming out of the sea. By this first boast several understand antichrist, as S. Iren. l. v. c. xxviii. and S. Greg. l. xxxi. Moral. c. xli. But this is not certain. By the other beast coming up out of the earth, (v. 11) many understand antichrist's false prophet, some famous impostor and magician in antichrist's time, who will do great wonders and signs. The seven heads and ten horns, may again signify a great number of kings and princes, who shall be overcome by antichrist, and submit themselves to him. The dragon, or devil, gives that great power to antichrist, signified by the different parts of the beast, some like to a leopard, others to a bear, and others to a lion. The head wounded to death and cured, is either antichrist himself or some one of those heads or kings, cured by the devil and diabolical arts after a mortal wound. Wi. — This first beast, with seven heads and ten horns, is probably the whole company of infidels, enemies and persecutors of the people of God, from the beginning to the end of the world. The seven heads are seven kings, that is, seven principal kingdoms or empires; which have exercised, or shall exercise, tyrannical power over the people of God: of these, five were then fallen, viz. the Egyptian, Assyrian, Chaldean, Persian, and Grecian monarchies: one was present, viz. the empire of Rome: and the seventh and the chiefest was to come, viz. the great antichrist and his empire. The ten horns may be understood of ten lesser persecutors. Ch.
Ver. 2. M. Bossuet, bishop of Meaux, observes in the emperors Maximian Herculeus, Galerius Maximin, and Dioclesian, the distinguishing characters of these three animals. The leopard represents Maximian, a changeable, restless and cruel prince. The bear figures Galerius Maximin, a man from the north of cruel and brutal disposition, terrible mein, and gigantic stature. Lactantius moreover informs us, that he took a pleasure in feeding bears, which bore so great a resemblance to him in size and brutality. The lion, in fine, is the symbol of Dioclesian, who was cruel and vehement against Christians. Calmet. — The whole of this is by Pastorini applied to the empire of Rome, which was composed of the territories of the three preceding empires, which are represented by Daniel under the figure of these animals. And as the body of the beast was like to a leopard, the centre and capital of the Roman empire, under antichrist will be the Grecian empire, denoted by the leopard, of which Constantinople became the capital. Various interpreters explain the whole of this vision by different ways. A.
Ver. 3. One of his heads, &c. Some understand this of the mortal wound which the idolatry of the Roman empire (signified by the sixth head) received from Constantine; which was as it were healed again by Julian the apostate. Ch.
Ver. 4. They adored the dragon; i.e. in antichrist's time, they will adore both antichrist and the devil, who will make war against the saints for forty-two months, i.e. a short time, signified also by 1260 days, and by three years and a half. Wi.
Ver. 6. His tabernacle, &c. That is, his Church, and his saints. Ch.
Ver. 8. Slain from the beginning. In the foreknowledge of God; and in as much as all mercy and grace, from the beginning, were given in view of his death and passion. Ch.
Ver. 10. Here is the patience, &c. Here is the motive of the patience and the faith of the saints, or the servants of God in this world. By faith they rely on the promises of God for the reward of their patience, and leave him to vindicate as he may judge fit their cause with respect to their persecutors. Past.
Ver. 11. I saw another beast, &c. He had two horns like those of the Lamb, pretending to imitate Christ by an outward sanctity, and by working strange things. Wi. — This second beast with two horns may be understood of the heathenish priests and magicians, the principal promoters both of idolatry and persecution. Ch.
Ver. 12. He executed all the power of the former beast in his sight, or before him, doing great wonders, as Christ foretold should be done by false prophets, (Mat. xxiv. 24) making even fire by lightning come from heaven, as the devil was permitted to do in the time of Job. C. i. — He caused men to adore the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed, and the image of the first beast, of antichrist, to be adored, and that no one should buy or sell any thing, unless he had on his forehead or on his arm, some particular mark, called the character of this false Christ, or antichrist; or his name, or the number of his name, that is, his name which was made up of numeral letters, 666; but as S. Irenæus thinks, in Greek letters or characters, as S. John wrote his Revelation in Greek. According to the application made by the bishop of Meaux, &c. by the first beast with seven horns were signified the cruel persecutors of the Church, Dioclesian and other six persecuting emperors, to wit, Maximian Herculeus, Galerius Maximian, Constantius Chlorus (father to Constantine), Maxentius, Maximinus, and Licinius. These they look upon to have been the seven heads of the first beast, and by this beast they understand the idolatry of the heathen Roman empire; and by the ten horns, a great many barbarous nations, who in their time made irruptions and pillaged the empire, and afterwards brought destruction upon the whole Roman empire, to wit, the Goths, Vandals, and the rest. The resemblances of a leopard, bear, and lion, are introduced with an allusion to what is written by the prophet Daniel, (C. vii.) meaning the four great empires: by the leopard, that of the Chaldeans; by the bear, that of the Persians; by the lion, that of the Grecians and of Alexander the great; lastly, that of the Romans, which is not represented by any one beast, but as a compound of others. When it is said that the beast had received a mortal wound, and was cured again, these interpreters understand the idolatry of the empire, which was in a great measure destroyed by Constantine, but which was again revived and renewed by Julian the apostate. He might well be said to have a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; but his power lasted only for a short time, signified by forty-two months, though literally he did not reign so long. By the other beast, (v. 11) these interpreters, as also Dr. Hammond, understand the philosophers and magicians, with their auguries and pretended oracles of the heathen gods. For these men, under Dioclesian, and particularly under Julian, were constantly exciting the emperors and the people against the Christians, telling them that the gods required that the religion of the Christians should be utterly destroyed. We find in the histories of those times, that an image or statue was erected to Julian, together with Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury, and orders given to put to death all those who refused to adore that image. See S. Greg. Naz. Orat. 3. cont. Julianum, and Sozomen, l. v. Hist. c. xvii. Under Dioclesian, and also under Julian, meats offered to idols, were thrown into fountains; and waters consecrated to idols, were sprinkled upon all things to be sold in the market, to the end that the Christians might be defiled by every thing that they bought or eat. As to the number of the name of the beast, 666, in these Greek letters, cxV , nothing can be produced but mere conjecture. S. Irenæus (l. v. c. xxx. p. 371. Ed. Feuardentii) says, that according to the testimony of those who had seen S. John, the number of the beast was to be computed by Greek letters. He takes notice that this number of 666 may be found in several names. He produces some examples, and amongst others the word Lateinos; of which he says, it may seem very likely that this is the name, because the last of the four empires, which were spoken of by the prophet Daniel, was then extant, and had this name of the empire of the Latins. Take notice, that he has not a word that hints at the Latin Church, as some of the late pretended reformation would insinuate. But, says he, the word Teitan carries with it a greater probability. Yet, he concludes, that such expositions are uncertain, and he will not venture to say that this will be the name. The bishop of Meaux proposes, DIoCLesAVgVstVs: but this is to look for it in Latin letters. Others have produced other names. Such fancies and conjectures seem full as well omitted. Wi.
Ver. 18. Six hundred sixty-six. The numeral letters of his name shall make up this number. Ch.