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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 13 - Verse 12

Verse 12. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him. The same amount of power; the same kind of power. This shows a remarkable relationship between these two beasts; and proves that it was intended to refer to the same power substantially, though manifested in a different form. In the fulfilment of this, we should naturally look for some government whose authority extended far, and which was absolute and arrogant in its character, for this is the power attributed to the first beast. See Barnes "Re 13:2, seq. This description had a remarkable fulfilment in the Papacy, considered as a spiritual dominion. The relation to the secular power is the same as would be indicated by these two beasts; the dominion was as wide-spread; the authority was as absolute and arrogant. In fact, on these points they have been identical. The one has sustained the other; either one would long since have fallen if it had not been upheld by the other. The Papacy, considered as a spiritual domination, was in fact a new power starting up in the same place as the old Roman dominion, to give life to that as it was tending to decay, and to continue its ascendency over the world. These two things, the secular and the spiritual power, constituting the Papacy in the proper sense of the term, are in fact but the continuance or the prolongation of the old Roman dominion—the fourth kingdom of Daniel—united so as to constitute in reality but one kingdom, and yet so distinct in their origin, and in their manifestations, as to be capable of separate contemplation and description, and thus properly represented by the two "beasts" that were shown in vision to John.

And causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast. That is, to respect, to reverence, to honour. The word worship here refers to civil respect, and not to religious adoration. See Barnes on "Re 13:4".

The meaning here, according to the interpretation proposed all along in this chapter, is, that the Papacy, considered in its religious influence, or as a spiritual power—represented by the second beast—secured for the civil or secular power—represented by the first beast—the homage of the world. It was the means of keeping up that dominion, and of giving it its ascendency among the nations of the earth. The truth of this, as an historical fact, is well known. The Roman civil power would have long ago lost all its influence and been unknown, if it had not been for the Papacy; and, in fact, all the influence which it has had since the irruption of the Northern barbarians, and the changes which their invasion produced, can be traced to that new power which arose in the form of the Papacy—represented in Daniel (Da 7:8) by the "little horn." That new power gave life and energy to the declining influence of Rome, and brought the world again to respect and honour its authority.

Whose deadly wound was healed. See Barnes on "Re 13:3".

That is, was healed by the influence of this new power represented by the second beast. A state of things occurred, on the rise of that new power, as if a wound in the head, otherwise fatal, was healed. The striking applicability of this to the decaying Roman power—smitten as with a deadly wound by the blows inflicted by the Northern hordes, and by internal dissensions—will occur to every one. It was as if a healing process had been imparted by some life-giving power, and, as a consequence, the Roman dominion—the prolongation of Daniel's fourth kingdom—has continued to the present time. Other kingdoms passed away—the Assyrian, the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Macedonian; Rome alone, of all the ancient empires, has prolonged its power over men. In all changes elsewhere, an influence has gone forth from the seven-hilled city as wide and as fearful as it was in the brightest days of the republic, the triumvirate, or the empire, and a large part of the world still listens reverently to the mandates which issue from the seat which so long gave law to mankind. The fact that it is so is to be traced solely to the influence of that power represented here by the second beast that appeared in vision to John—the Papacy.

{e} "wound was healed" Re 13:3

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