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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 17 - Verse 6

Verse 6. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints. A reeling, intoxicated harlot—for that is the image which is kept up all along. In regard to the phrase "drunken with blood," compare Jer 46:10. "The phraseology is derived from the barbarous custom (still extant among many Pagan nations) of drinking the blood of the enemies slain in the way of revenge. The effect of drinking blood is said to be to exasperate, and to intoxicate with passion and a desire of revenge."—Prof. Stuart, in loc. The meaning here is, that the persecuting power referred to had shed the blood of the saints; and that, in its fury, it had, as it were, drunk the blood of the slain, and had become, by drinking that blood, intoxicated and infuriated. No one need say how applicable this has been to the Papacy. Compare, however, Barnes on "Da 7:21,25; Re 12:13-14; Re 13:15 ".

 

And with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. Especially with their blood. The meaning is, that the warfare in which so much blood was shed was directed against the saints as such, and that in fact it terminated particularly on those who, amidst cruel sufferings, were faithful witnesses for the Lord Jesus, and deserved to be called, by way of eminence, martyrs. Compare See Barnes on "Re 2:13"; See Barnes "Re 6:9"; See Barnes "Re 11:5, See Barnes "Re 11:7".

How applicable this is to the Papacy, let the blood shed in the valleys of Piedmont; the blood shed in the Low Countries by the Duke of Alva; the blood shed on St. Bartholomew's day; and the blood shed in the Inquisition, testify.

And when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. I was astonished at her appearance; at her apparel, and at the things which were so significantly symbolized by her.

{b} "drunken" Re 16:16

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