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kingdom. Five of them—1, Republican ; 2, Consular ; 3, Decemvir ; 4, Dictatorial; 5, Triumvirate these forms had all passed when John saw his vision ; "and one is," that is Imperial, then in power; the “ other," Kingly, “is not yet come.” The kings did not exercise their power over the empire of Rome until after about 508 years after Christ. Then the Kingly must be the supreme head for a short space; all of which did take place between A. D. 508 and A. D. 538.
11. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition,
The kingdom of Rome, which was in power then ; but not in its church state. For when the Church of Rome should obtain its supremacy, it would be the eighth head, in succession. Yet the Roman Church would be of the seven ; that is, it would have all the seven forms of government of the former Roman, and no other; and although it would be in the succession, the eighth head yet it only retains the seven forms. In that sense, it would not probably be a new form of government, but “is of the seven”—combining all forms of government into one; and at the end it shall go into perdition.
12. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
This is an explanation of the ten horns, that represent ten kings, which had not received their place among the seven heads when John saw this vision ; but they will receive their power in the kingly form of government a short space of time in this Roman empire of seven heads.
13. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
These kings, after they are all converted to one faith, or one mind, became, as they then called it, orthodox. These “shall give their power,” i. e. supremacy or head, “ and strength," meaning the physical strength of the military to assist the Bishop and Church of Rome in obtaining the supreme power over all other sects, kingdoms and powers.
14. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for he is Lord of lords and King of kings; and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
These ten kings or kingdoms, shall support this Anti-Christian power, the Church of Rome, and by so doing will oppose or make war against the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ; and the Lamb of God shall overcome them ; for Jesus must reign on his Father's throne until he puts down all rule, and all authority and power, and he must reign until he puts all enemies under his feet, 1 Cor. xv. 24, 25. When he Jesus shall come, he will dash them, like a potter's vessel, to pieces. Compare Psalm ii. 8, 9; Daniel ii. 35, 36; vii. 22; Rev. ii. 27. He will grind them to powder. He will carry them away as the wind carries away the chaff of the summer threshing floor, so that no place on earth shall be found for them : for Christ is Lord over all lords, and King over all kings; and will by these means take possession of his lawful inheritance, the earth, and reign forever and ever. Then will those who are his by faith be redeemed by his grace from all their enemies, even from death, and they shall be with him where he is, and be like him, called by his Spirit and word, being chosen by his grace, and having chosen salvation through grace. He has faithfully performed his promise unto them, and they are faithful in their obedience to him.
15. And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
This verse is an explanation of the first verse, and means just what it says-showing over whom the false Church of Rome would have power, and who would sustain her in that power, and be her followers even down to perdition. Oh, that men would be wise !
16. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
The ten horns are a representation of the ten kingdoms that would arise out of the division of the old Roman empire, as it stood when it began its conquest of Macedonia and the east. These kingdoms would, for the time, give unto the false Church of Rome their power and strength. Yet after the time appointed of her reign over the kings of the earth, 1260 years, these kingdoms would hate the supreme power of the Roman church, and would take it to themselves, would strip her of her benefices, confiscate her goods, take away her supremacy, carry her captive, make her desolate, eat up her power to rule over kingdoms, and divide it among themselves. They would burn her palaces and chapels, her prisons and nunneries, her pictures and pleasant things with fire, and lay waste her cities and territory by war and the sword. This was literally accomplished in the French Revolution.
17. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
We learn by this verse that God has a supervision over the kingdoms of men—that while they pursue their wicked propensities, they execute unknowingly the purposes of God. These rulers, or kings of these kingdoms, must first be agreed, before Paganism could be taken away. They, then, must be converted to the Orthodox faith of the Catholic Church of Rome, before they would yield their power and submit to the Bishop of Rome, and establish the Papal Hierarchy. In the beginning of the sixth century these kings were converted to the Christian faith ; yet many of them were Arians. But this was sufficient to take away Paganism, Justinian was then raised up to make war against the Arian kings, and compel them to submit and agree to Orthodoxy; so that in A. D. 538, they gave their power and strength to the Church of Rome; and the Bishop of Rome became head over the kingdoms, as well as the churches, and the two horned beast came up out of the Roman earth. The words of God were thus far fulfilled, and the world knew it not. Why? Because they believed not in the words of God, and regarded not the unseen hand of the Almighty.