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2. It rose from the sea.-It was therefore not in existence in John's days, for he saw it prophetically. It came from the sea. The sea is, by John, defined to be a multitude of people, and so also by Daniel. As this beast was a spiritual dominion, the sea must represent the religion from whence it sprung, and the earth the civil power of the empire.
3. Seven heads.-These are conformed to the seven heads of the dragon, or to the great empires that were to have dominion in later ages in Europe.
4. The ten horns.-These are conformed to the clay of ten toes of the great image; to the ten horns of Daniel's fourth beast; and to the ten of the dragon.
5. Ten crowns on the horns. These crowns were diadems, or diademata, and therefore represented that the ten kingdoms were independent of any superior imperial power. The heads having no diadems, in this vision, show that it was not identical with the dragon, but only a counterpart of it.
6. "Upon his heads the name of blasphemy." The term blasphemy signifies, "to arrogate the prerogatives of God," as "this man blasphemeth; who can forgive sins but God only?"-Matt. ix. The heads having no diadems, but marked with blasphemy, show that this was a spiritual power, arrogating the prerogatives of God.
7. "And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard." We have already seen that the leopard's colors marked great variety of characters in a kingdom.
8. "His feet like unto a bear." The feet symbolized adoration, or the worship of this kingdom.-Ez. iii. 5; Prov. vi. 13. Like unto a bear, signifies the mummery and rapacity of the worship. "We groan all of us like bears."-Isa. lix.
9. "His mouth as the mouth of a lion." A mouth commonly signifies doctrine and authority. A mouth as a lion, signifies great authoritativeness of doctrine.
10. "And the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority." The dragon, we have shown, was imperial Rome, and as he gives this beast a seat, it shows that the beast was a protege of his, and not the imperial power, as that was the dragon himself. The dragon did not give up his own seat to the beast, but he gave a seat of power to the new government, or beast. The beast does not intimate any abandonment, by the dragon, of his own prerogatives, but he asserts the rights of the beast. The pronoun "his" refers to the beast, and his seat, and not to the dragon; the text says nothing about the dragon's seat at all. The dragon still continued to exist and to occupy his own throne, for, in the second sentence afterward, they are both represented as existing conjointly, and receiving honor together; and the dragon is represented as existing in all subsequent ages, and is chained before the Millennium, and thrown into hell afterward. The authority given was a spiritual authority, and the seat was a spiritual one, and they conjointly ruled and received honors together.
11. "And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded unto death, and his deadly wound was healed." As each head represented some one particular form of the existence of the government in its broken stages, this wounding shows that one of these seven governments would be nearly overthrown; but its being healed shows that it would survive and be strong again.
12. "All the world wondered after the beast." That is, the whole world would be surprised at its existence. 13. "And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast, and they worshived the beast,
saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him.” This worship represents new and increased homage given to imperial Rome, for the establishment of this blasphemous power, as well as the honors heaped upon this power by the multitude. It shows that it was a dominant power of great coeval ability with the dragon, and that it received its strength from imperial authority.
14. " And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies." This, again, shows that the power was a spiritual one; for mouth and blasphemy are never applied to a civil symbol of government.
15. "And power was given unto him to continue or make war, or prevail forty-two months." That is for 529,984 days, and for 1243 years 277 days, and for about 1540 years, or until the 4th of July, 1776, and until 1865, or thereabouts.
16. "And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven." This blasphemy, we have seen, was the assumption of divine power generally. To blaspheme the tabernacle would, therefore, be asserting rights in the church of God, which belonged to God only; and blasphemy against those in heaven, would be assuming divine authority over Christians generally.
17. "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them." That is, this spiritual government was to oppress Christians, and destroy them, and crush them almost out of existence.
18. "And power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." The Roman empire extended over all nations, and its power was to be commensurate with its limits. This, however, seems to be a different
power from that just expressed as extending over Christians, and must be a civil jurisdiction over the empire; so that both sacred and secular matters were to be under its control, at some period in its history.
19. “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb." That is, the whole empire should honor it, excepting those who were true Christians, in the empire.
We now affirm that this beast, or spiritual kingdom, is no other than the church united to the Roman empire, in all of its stages of being. We shall simply enumerate the identifying coincidences categorically:
1. The church united to the state was a spiritual empire, and was conformed, universally, to the imperial empire of Rome.-(Eusebius, Gibbon, Hallam.)
2. It arose from the sea, or the church which had already lost much of its savor, and was the mystery of iniquity that was working in the days of St. Paul, and which he describes as the man of sin.
3. It has been in all stages of the seven empires, conformed to them, and allied to them, and has had a seat with them in civil affairs. Bishops, in England, have civil power.
4. The church was also united to the ten kingdoms of Europe, for the barbarians who erected them adopted the religion of Rome.
5. The heads, or smaller successive empires, as well as the original empire, gave this blasphemous power no imperial sway, but kept it subservient to them. The papal power claimed supremacy, as the regent of God, over kingdoms, rather than as a church.
6. This church has had the most motley composition of tribes, nations, and tongues, and has been of the most mingled religious character of any spiritual body that ever existed. Its worship has been the most mystic anl whining, groaning and chanting, that was ever known. Its doctrines have been asserted with as lion-like authority as that of God himself.
7. One of the heads of this power was wounded as if unto death, but it recovered: that was the veritable papal head of Europe. In the war between the papai and imperial powers for supremacy, or that of investi tures, or of the Guelphs and Ghibelines, Henry of Germany degraded Gregory VII., defeated and slew Rodolph, whom the Pope had declared emperor; he entered Italy, laid siege to Rome for two years, and carried it by assault; deposed Gregory, and reduced the papal empire, by the sword, to the brink of ruin. Thus was one of the great imperial heads of the beast, or one of the prophetic empires, wounded to death. Gregory VII. was the founder of the papal empire, and "added a blasphemous claim of right, as Christ's vicar on earth, and inheritor of his visible throne."—(Taylor's Hist.) See on page 409, of this history, the tremendous claims he made upon all governments in the world to submit to the papal power. Gregory returned to Rome after Henry IV. had left it, and reduced it to a mass of ruins; he then retreated to Salerno and died, as he said himself, "in exile."
8. "And his deadly wound was healed." The victory over the papal power was of short duration. The cardinals elected Victor III., and in a short time the papal power arose afresh, to tremendous and supreme empire, and rested in the very same principles avowed by Gregory VII., at the organization of the empire. Thus was the wounded head restored to life.