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INCE the most learned and Catholic writers of our time (to pass over the more ancient ones) have accurately disputed the whole matter of Antichrist, and since we, in our meager way, have already prosecuted it elsewhere, this book can seem to someone too little necessary, especially because it is not so connected with the previous ones that the order of doctrine should seem to require it. However, the King of England, to whom we proposed at the beginning of this book to make response, compels us even unwillingly to undertake again this labor. For he in his Preface, after profession of his faith, suddenly digresses to discussion of Antichrist, and demands a particular response to the things that he proffers for his opinion, saying: “This is most of all in my desires, that if it please anyone to refute this my conjecture about Antichrist, let him respond in order to the individual parts of my disputation”; and therefore we think it necessary both to digress with him and to grant a particular response to his individual conjectures. For we have also not judged it should be omitted for the reason that the king professes to support himself on conjectures alone; because in a thing so absurd and plainly incredible and exceedingly odious to the Church and pernicious, conjectures are not even to be permitted but altogether rooted out. For which cause I have not been afraid to weave together again a disputation of Antichrist, nay also, if it be necessary, to repeat again the same things, provided that, insofar as in me is, I make satisfaction to all both the wise and the unwise, for to both, on the witness of the Apostle in Romans 1:14, are we debtors. Lest however we be irksome to the reader, we will not touch on all things that are wont ro be dealt with about Antichrist, but those only that can be of service to the cause and to the particular response that the king demands. And the individual members that the king distinguishes we will also individually examine, not however in the same order, but we will always put forward first things which either are more evident, and in the Scriptures clearer, or knowledge of which we judge can contribute something to what is less known or depends on things prior.





























1. Etymology of the name. spacer2. False etymology of this name by heretics. Antichrist signifies an adversary of Christ; proof from Scripture. spacer3 - 4. Proof again from the Fathers. spacer5. Twofold signification of the name of Antichrist.

EFORE we speak about the matter itself we have thought to put first a few things about the name of Antichrist, so that we might uncover all the artifices of the Protestants, or rather their outrages, against the Vicar of Christ. That the name Antichrist, then, is Greek, or taken from the Greeks, there is no one who does not know. Now it is composed from anti and Christos in which compound it is certain that the name of Christ, which is proper to Jesus our Savior, is being used. For although this name, as derived from anointing, is more general and is wont to signify any man who has, by some sacred anointing, been assumed in dignity, according to the verse, Psalm 104 [105]“15: “Touch not mine anointed [Christs],” nevertheless it signifies by antonomasia, especially after his advent, the Messiah or Christ the Lord, as he had also in the Old Law been before signified, as John 4 indicated, v. 25, “I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ,” and as is expounded by Augustine Tractat. 15 and 33 on John, and very well by Cyril Cateches. 4 “Mystag.”, Eusebius, Histor. I.3, and De Demonstrat. IV.10, Lactantius IV.7, and others whom I referred to extensively in vol. III, part. 3 disput. 18 sect. 2.
spacer 2. The heretics, however, contend that the word anti in that compound signifies, not opposition, but vicariate or substitution in place of another, and thus that he is Antichrist who calls himself the Vicar of Christ. But they are assuredly being led by a spirit to deceive the simple, at least by the inept adaption of the name. And therefore, passing over that question of the double signification of the term anti considered in itself and in the general usage of the Greeks, we must only consider it as far as it is taken in that compound name according to the use of Scripture, the Church, and the Fathers. In this way, therefore, it is certain that it signifies contrariety and opposition, and that the name Antichrist designates a signal enemy of Christ. For the Church has taken this term from Scripture, wherein it has no other signification. For nowhere is this word itself found in Scripture except in the epistles 1 and 2 John, and there it clearly signifies an enemy of Christ. For after John had said, 2:18, “Ye have heard that Antichrist shall come,” he subjoins later, v. 22, “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” From which words it is clearly certain that Antichrist is opposed to Christ in denying that Jesus is Christ, namely him especially promised, composed of a twofold nature in one divine person, and especially anointed by the very divinity itself and the Holy Spirit, and accordingly by antonomasia Christ. Hence in chapter 4 he repeats, v. 3, “Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God; and this is that spirit of Antichrist.” But not to confess Christ is nothing other than to deny that Jesus is anointed with divinity, namely by the singular union of humanity to the Word; and this is the height of opposition to Christ, as the same Apostle again explained in Epistle 2 when he says, v. 7. “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and Antichrist.” Therefore in Scripture that term has no other use. But in other places of Scripture, wherein Antichrist is not named but described, a supreme adversary of Christ is depicted. For in Daniel 9 and Matthew 24, by the “abomination of desolation” it is believed that Antichrist is foretold, and of him is it said that he will usurp the seat and name of Christ and will stir up a very great persecution against Christ in his Church. And about the same are understood the words of Christ at John 5:43, “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not; if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” Of the same also speaks Paul 2 Thessalonians 2, where he loads him down with these names, vv. 3 - 4, “that man of sin…the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” And finally, so that Paul might show the supreme opposition of Antichrist to Christ, he adjoins, v. 8, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” In Daniel, again, and in Revelation Antichrist is described as a signal adversary of Christ, as we shall see below.
spacergreen 3. And in this way did the holy Fathers think about Antichrist and his name when expounding these places. Chrysostom Homil. 4 on John, Cyril, Book III on John, 6, and on that place Theophylact, Euthymius, and Bede, and Irenaeus extensively., Contra Haeres. V.25; Ambrose on Psalm 43 and De Spirit. Sanct. I.14; Nazianzen, Oration. 47, which is entitled Significatio in Ezech., and in the iambic inscription Definitionis minus Exactae at the end; Ruffinus in Exposit. Symbol.; Hilary, De Unit. Pat. et Fil. somewhat from the beginning, if this is his book. Better and more certain is the book Contra Auxent. at the beginning: “The property of the name of Antichrist,” he says, “is to be contrary to Christ.” And Jerome, epist. 151 to Algas., q. 11, “For he himself is the perdition of all things who opposes Christ and is therefore called Antichrist.” And for this reason in Book II Contra Jovinian, at the beginning he says, “As day and night cannot be mixed, so neither justice and iniquity, sin and good works, Christ and Antichrist.” Augustine, tract.3 on the epistle 1 John says, “In Latin ‘Antichrist’ is contrary to Christ,” and later he blames those who were interpreting the name of Antichrist, that is ante-Christ, and he says, “It is not said thus, it is not written thus, but Antichrist, that is, contrary to Christ.” And very well speaks Damasius IV.27: “Not to us but to the Jews will he come, not for Christ but against Christ, for which cause too is he called Antichrist.” And in vol. IX of the works of Augustine, the author of the tractate De Antichristo thus begins: “Those who wish to know about Antichrist will note first wherefore he is thus called, namely for this reason, that he will be contrary to Christ in all things, and will do things contrary to Christ.” And although that tractate not be deemed Augustine’s, it possesses authority and is believed to be of Rabanus. And Hugo Eterianus, De Regres. Animar. ch. 23 says, “A man will he be, not an angel, who is adversary to Christ and his members, hence he is to be called Antichrist.” And we will refer to many others in the following chapter.
spacer 4. Since heretics, therefore, cannot deny this etymology or signification, what does it profit them to have changed the etymology of the word, to have attributed to it out of their own brain a new signification, even to call the Antichrist by the name Vicar of Christ? For if they study in this to strive about the name alone, they are to be contemned and sent back to the grammar schools. But if under the appearance and shadow of a name they strive to give persuasion that he under this proper verbal signification is true Antichrist and as if adversary of Christ, because he calls himself Vicar of Christ and precisely Antichrist in the other signification they have thought up, such that they understand to be Antichrist, not any enemy of Christ, but him who, under the name of his Vicar, is opposed to him, we reply, to begin with, that he who names himself Vicar of Christ by no robbery or usurpation, but because he has been established by Christ, is no enemy of Christ and in this respect cannot be Antichrist. Next we say that that sign of Antichrist is not found in the Scriptures, nor is it handed down in them or by the Fathers, namely that Antichrist will oppose Christ under the form of his Vicar, but by openly usurping the very name and dignity of Christ. And therefore, omitting this vain thought and novelty, we must run through the signs of Christ founded on Scripture.
spacer 5. But I cannot omit from noting, first, that, from this etymology of the name and from the said testimonies, a double acceptation of this term must be distinguished. One we can call proper, the other common or transferred. For because the name of Antichrist signifies a man opposed to Christ, it is taken by antonomasia as the proper name of a certain individual man, the greatest adversary of Christ and the Church; but it is also in a general way said of other enemies of Christ. Thus double acceptation of the name is used by John in the said first epistle when he says, 2:18, “As ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists.” And later insinuating the reason for this latter signification he says, v. 22, “…but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist…” And he repeats more or less the same in ch. 4 and in the second epistle. And thus, from this place, this double acceptation of this name has been noted there by the Fathers, and on Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 2, by Jerome, Chrysostom, Oecumenius, and others. And Cyprian epist. 76, at the beginning, very well says that John “calls all those who went out from the Church and who were acting against the Church Antichrists.” And later: “Hence it appears that the adversaries of the Lord are all Antichrists;” and more or less the like things are contained in epist. 7. Augustine too , in Book II of Contra Adversarium Legis et Prophetarum, last chapter, says about him, “God is true, in whose temple that false man (that is, Antichrist) will sit, to whom will he too belong (that is, the adversary of the law), who under the name of Christ, which is the name of God, that is, wishing to be seen a Christian, always exalts himself against Christ and shows himself Antichrist, not that one who is greater than the rest, but one of those of whom John the Evangelist says that now are there many Antichrists. For he meant them, the heretics, who had already begun to exist in the times of the apostles.” Likewise in De Civitate Dei XX.19. Hence Jerome too, Naum. 2, treating of the verse 1 Peter 5:8, “Your adversary the devil as a lion &c.” subjoins, “the whelp of the lion Antichrist, and all perverse doctrines &c.” And later, “Ye have heard, says John, that there are many antichrists, for there are as many antichrists as there are false dogmas.” And on Matthew 7 at the end he calls all those antichrists “who think against Christ.” All which things confirm what we have said, that Antichrist is called thus from supreme opposition to Christ, and hence is the name derivatively used to denote the other more signal adversaries of Christ, just in common usage we also say that a very cruel man is a Nero, and that a like tyrant is a Diocletian, that a great philosopher is an Aristotle, and thus in other cases. About this transferred signification, then, there is no doubt; but there remains a controversy with heretics about the second signification, which we will pursue in the next chapter.



1. Opinion of heretics. spacer2. Catholic truth holds that Antichrist will be an individual man. Proof from the Scriptures. spacer3. Consideration of the individual words of the Apostle Paul adduced for the proof. spacer4. Proof from the Fathers. Antichrist will not be a demon. spacer5. Another reason from Theodoret.spacer 6. Consideration of the words of St. John. spacer7. Consideration of the other words of the same Apostle. Proof also from the Greek article. spacer8. Confirmation from Daniel. spacer9. In Daniel the last king was not Mahomet or another tyrant. spacer10 - 11. Confirmation again of the truth from the authority of the Fathers.

ERETICS contend that he is not an individual man but a series or kind of persons succeeding to some seat or empire; which error they have thought up so as to prove that the Pope is Antichrist. Wycliffe, art. 30 and Jan Hus, art. 19, condemned in the Council of Constance sessions 8 and 15, insinuated this error. Luther more clearly on ch.49 Genesis, where he by this reason rejects the common opinion asserting that Antichrist will be of the tribe of Dan, which he says was an invention of the devil. And a certain Rodolphus Gualterius in his Homilies on Antichrist ridicules those who assert that Antichrist will be a definite individual man. Thus too, Beza on 2 Thessalonians 2 says that Paul, although he speaks of Antichrist as of a certain man, nevertheless understands the whole body of ecclesiastical tyranny, but in such way that he is indicating a particular tyranny, namely the Roman. Hence he concludes that they were all manifestly hallucinating who understood Paul to have spoken of some one man, unless they grant that there is someone who survives from Paul’s age up to the Day of Judgment. Lastly Calvin too in the same place, and at De Iustit. IV.7, makes the same supposition when he says that the Pope is Antichrist. And this opinion has pleased King James, who admits he is led only by conjectures; blue but of what sort they are we will later see.
spacer 2. The Catholic truth and by faith certain is that Antichrist properly or antonomastically taken will be some individual man, a signal and particular adversary of Christ. Thus teach wise and Catholic men who have in this age disputed against heretics and have treated this point with great care and erudition. It is also proved in brief from Sacred Scripture and the Fathers. And I consider, to begin with, the place in 2 Thessalonians 2 where, although Antichrist is not by this name expressed, nevertheless that Paul is speaking about him is taught by all saints and Catholics, blue nor do heretics deny it; nay they introduce the same place for the contrary, as we will see later. In that place, then, Paul is instructing the Thessalonians not to be perturbed by thinking that the day of the Lord, that is of the Last Judgment, is already near at hand, because the advent and persecution of Antichrist must come first. Hence he says, vv. 3 - 4, “Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” And later, v. 8, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume &c.”
spacer 3. Assuredly, if the individual words are carefully weighed, they cannot be properly and sincerely understood except about an individual and definite person. For who is wont to call some throne or seat of a kingdom “man of sin” or “son of perdition”? For the like words do not in strictness signify a collection or succession but a determinate person, and they are not by violence or without cause to be removed from their proper signification. Especially because that man is clothed and described by Paul and the Prophets with so many circumstances, manners, and conditions that they must necessarily fit only one person. As when Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:9, “Whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,” and the like, because it is not plausible that in all the successors or kings of some kingdom all those properties and qualities of morals will exist. Add that Paul did not say “man” absolutely but along with the Greek article, “that man of sin,” as also Ambrose reads in the Latin and as Vatablus translates; but the Greek article has the force of pointing to an individual person, as I will show below from the Fathers. Nay, it is deserving of note that Paul repeats the article four times, saying: “that man of sin, the son of perdition, he who opposeth &c.” and later: “And then shall that Wicked be revealed &c.”
spacer 4. Moreover, thus have the Fathers understood this place. St. John Chrysostom orat. 3 and 4 on that place, who makes clear the individuality of the person of Antichrist through comparison with Christ. For just as Christ had been foretold as an individual man, and definite indications were given about him, that is, through the signs and portents that he was going to do, so Antichrist is opposed to him, and his advent is foretold as of a certain particular man, and he is indicated through the signs and false portents that he will work. Therefore in this way Antichrist will be a determinate person, just as Christ was. Thus too Theophylact, when expounding those words, asks, “But who is he? Is he Satan? In no way, but some man who receives all the working of Satan.” And the same more or less is contained in Theodoret who gives more consideration to the antithesis between Christ and Antichrist, saying that the demon imitates the counsels of God. “For just as God, having taken up human nature, secured our salvation, so the demon, when he chooses a man who might take up all his working, will try through him to deceive all men, calling himself Christ and God and man.” Where we note only the equivalence in this, that each is a definite and particular person, for in the manner there is diversity. For not in the way that Christ is the word in assumed humanity will Antichrist be the person of the demon by hypostasis in assumed nature, as some have falsely imagined, whom we have attacked elsewhere; therefore comparison is only made in this respect, that as Christ was an individual man, so also will Antichrist be. Hence too Theodoret himself wisely changed the manner of his speech, for of Christ he said, “just as God, having taken up human nature &c.” but of the demon he says: “so the demon, when he chooses a man who might take up all his working”, thinking that there will not only be a specific nature but also a particular person among others chosen by the demon as fit for all his own corrupt working.
spacer 5. Next, in the same words of Theodoret another reason can be weighed. For the chief and greatest intent of Antichrist will be opposition to Christ, because he will try to prove that he is Christ and true Messiah and to show himself “that he is God,” as Paul says in the same place. But this cannot be thought about any throne, or in the succession of those sitting on it. For as Christ was not foretold save as a particular man, so no one will imagine himself Christ except in his particular person. And although many have imagined themselves Christ, yet none save in his own person and for his person; and among them he who excels in signs, portents, lies, and power will by antonomasia be Antichrist. Hence Ambrose in the same place says that Antichrist will be “first and supreme of the corrupt men who have wanted themselves to be worshipped as God.” Rightly too does Tertullian say, at Contra Marc. V.16, “He who is man of sin, son of perdition, must first be revealed before the advent of the Lord &c. Antichrist, indeed, according to us, as the ancient and the new prophets teach.”
spacer 6. Moreoever, thence do Ambrose, Chrysostom, and all the Fathers join with the cited words of Paul the other words of Christ in John 5:43, “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not; if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” In which words it is manifestly certain that Christ is speaking of some determinate person whom the Jews will receive as Messiah. And in this way do the said Fathers and all those mentioned in the previous chapter interpret of Antichrist those words of Christ. And Augustine tract. 29 on John, when expounding the words of ch.7:18, “He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory,” says that such will be Antichrist, “the Lord, obviously announcing that he will seek his own glory, not the glory of the Father, says to the Jews, ‘I am come &c.’”; and Ambrose on Psalm 43 says that Christ signified by those words that “the Jews will believe in Antichrist, who did not wish to believe him.” And the same is contained in De Spirit. Sanct. I.14. For although there were going to be many false Christs and false prophets, as he himself foretold in Matthew 24, whom other Jews were going to receive as Messiah, as we read in Acts 5 was in part fulfilled, and afterwards in Eusebius Historiar. VIII.6; nevertheless the Jews will receive no one as Messiah in the way they will Antichrist, and therefore him singularly we understand Christ to have designated by his words. And thus too Cyril of Jerusalem, Cateches. 12, said. “The children of the Jews rejected him when he came, but await him who will come in evil; the true Christ they have denied, but will themselves in their error receive the false one. About which thing also our Savior truly said, ‘I am come &c.’” But that the false Christ will be a certain individual man and Antichrist is made clear by the same Cyril extensively in Catech.15.
spacer 7. Besides, this is plainly confirmed by the way of speaking in 1 John 2:18, “As ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists.” For in these words he distinguishes a certain Antichrist individually named and foretold from the many called so by a certain participation in him and transference. Therefore he plainly supposes that the former is a particular person. Especially because those many antichrists, whom John said that there already were, were not many kingdoms or tyrannical empires, but either the many who were already rising up from the Jews against Christ, or the many heretics, as Ebion, Cerinthus, Simon Magus, or also the Roman Emperors who were persecutors of Christians, like Nero, Domitian, as the Fathers everywhere expound; therefore too that individual Antichrist is one certain and definite person. Add that in the said words, and a littler later, and in ch.4 and epist.2, wherever the name “Antichrist” is put in the singular, it is put with the Greek article ho, that is, “the,” which article has the force of designating a definite person and with a certain individuality, according to the general rule of the Fathers which is handed on by Epihanius Contra Haeres. I.9, and II.56, and by Chrysostom. Enarrat. on Isaiah 7, where he ponders that the Prophet did not say, v. 14: “Behold a virgin will conceive,” but added the article to designate an individual and excellent virgin; and Cyril, Book I on John ch .4, near the end, ponders that John added the article when he said, “In the beginning was the word;” and Origen, vol. VII on John [the Baptist], about the words, “Are you the prophet?”
spacer 8. For confirmation also of this truth many arguments can be taken from places in Daniel and Revelation wherein that Antichrist is predicted is both taught by the Fathers and not denied by heretics. Therefore Daniel ch. 7, after he has explained that the fourth beast is a fourth kingdom, namely that of the Romans, afterwards to be divided among ten kings, he subjoins, v. 24, “and another shall rise after them,” by whom all the Fathers understand Antichrist, as Jerome testifies on that place, and he is followed by Augustine, De Civit. Dei XX.23, and by St. Gregory, Moral. XXXII.12, where the particle “another” sufficiently points to an individual person, whose actions the Prophet at once describes in a way sufficiently consonant with Paul. And certainly it cannot at least be denied that on the throne and in the empire of him who will fight against ten kings, and who will destroy three and subject the other seven to himself, there will be some first king who will rise up against the others; he must, then, be a certain and determinate person; now he will be Antichrist. Both because on him in particular converge all the things that are thereon added, v. 25, “He shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High &c.” And most because the time of that king will be so short that there will be to him no successor, but in him and with him the throne is to be extinguished, as we will show below from the same place of Daniel, and from chs. 11 and 12, and from Revelation ch.11 and following, and from the words of Paul, 2 Thessalonians 2:8, “whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth,” and from other places.
spacer 9. This argument also proves that the last king signified by the little horn was not Mahomet as some have wished, nor any like tyrant. Hence too this truth is confirmed from the circumstances of time, place, origin, wars, and from others similar with which the Antichrist to come is described in the places of Scripture mentioned, which we will treat of later; for an individual person cannot be more evidently designated than by circumstances of this sort, or (to speak with the dialecticians) through a collection of properties that cannot come together save in a single and particular individual; but thus is Antichrist described in Scripture; therefore it cannot be denied but that he will be a particular person.
spacer 10. Next, of the Antichrist individually foretold by Daniel, by Paul, and by the evangelist John, all the most ancient Fathers who wrote about him everywhere suppose that he will be an individual man, whose race, morals, and other proper circumstances they describe. As is clear from the things that are handed on by Irenaeus, Contra Haeres. from V.25, by Hippolytus, orat. De Consummat. Mundi; Ephrem tract. De Antichrist. in vol. I, Cyril of Jerusalem, Cateches.15; Ambrose, Book X on ch.21 of Luke, where he numbers three Antichrists, the Devil, Arius and all similar heretics, and the individual and famous Antichrist who will persecute the Church at the end of the world. Thus too is Antichrist depicted by Lactantius, Divin. Inst. VII.16, 17 and 18, and he concludes. “Now this is he who is called Antichrist, but he will lie that he is himself Christ and he will do battle against the true Christ;” and he repeats like things in Epitom. Institution. ch. 11. And in the same way does Hugo Eterianus speak in De Regress. Animar. ch. 23; Prosper in Dimidio Tempor from ch. 6 up to 16; but in particular Jerome on Daniel 7 when he says, “We think Antichrist to be some individual among men, in whom Satan will wholly dwell.” He supposes the same in epist. 151 to Algas. q. 1, where he expounds extensively the place of Paul to the Thessalonians. The same is contained in Theodoret on the same places of Daniel and Paul. And likewise Chrysostom orat. 3 on 2 Thessalonians says that Antichrist will not be Satan himself, “but some man taking up all his working.” Where Theophylact has the same words when he says, “He will not be Satan but some man.” Cyprian too, Ad Quirin. III.118 expounds of Antichrist the verse of Isaiah 14:16, “the man that made the earth to tremble,” assuredly supposing that he will be a particular man.
spacer 11. Augustine, De Civit. Dei XX.19 says, “There is no doubt that he spoke thus about Antichrist and about the Day of Judgment. For thus does he call the day of the Lord and says that it will not come except he will first have come whom he calls a fugitive, that is, from the Lord God. But if it is rightly said of all the impious, how much more of him.” And later, treating of the place in John, he says, “Just as before the end many heretics have come forth from the middle of the Church, whom he says are many Antichrists, so all then will from there leave who will not belong to Christ but to the last Antichrist.” And at ch. 23, expounding Daniel in this way too he says, “Antichrist’s future most savage kingdom against the Church, although it is to be sustained for a small period of time, until by the final judgment of God the saints will receive an eternal kingdom; he who reads these things without drowsiness is not allowed to doubt.” In addition, the same is taught by Gregory, Moralia XIV.11, where he says that Antichrist will be the head of the all the wicked, and that the things said in Job ch. 9 are in such wise understood of each of the wicked “that they should also be referred specially to the head itself of the wicked.” And in XIII.12, “The ancient enemy,” he says, “will enter into that man of perdition who is specially titled Antichrist.” And lastly Damascene, De Fide Orthodoxa IV.27 says, “Everyone who does not confess Christ is Antichrist. But yet he is said in a peculiar and chief way to be Antichrist who will come before the destruction of the world.”



1. Improper interpretation of Beza on Daniel. spacer2. Response. spacer3. What Daniel understood by the name of the beasts. spacer4. By the name of the beasts are indicated the first kings. spacer5. The ten horns represent the same number of kings. spacer6. Another interpretation of Beza on St. Paul. spacer7. The heretics pretend a double meaning to the name of Antichrist. Antichrist is in type multiple, in person singular. Heresiarchs are called Antichrists.spacer 8. The interpretation of Beza is attacked from the same words of Paul. spacer9. Opinion of the King of England.

INCE, if Antichrist is going to be one individual person, the fantasy of the heretics, that Antichrist is to sit on the throne of the Apostolic See, vanishes, they attempt to attack the truth demonstrated from the Scriptures with the same Scriptures. And first Beza objects the place of Daniel 7 where by the four beasts four kingdoms are signified; but each one of those kingdoms lasted for much time and had several kings, who were signified by the individual beasts; and in the same way in the same place the ten horns of the fourth beast are said to be ten kings, who need not be individual persons but a series of several persons on the seat of one kingdom; therefore one must, for the same reason, say about the kingdom of Antichrist that it is signified by the little horn, not however that it is one man, but that it is one throne, on which many will by succession sit; of whom the collectivity is called by Paul “man of sin,” because it will be as it were one body of tyrants succeeding each other.
spacer 2. I reply, to begin with, that there is a dissimilarity in reasoning about the signification of words and reasoning about the representation of things appearing in figures or images, as of beasts or animals. For words have their own signification, as it were permanent and common, from which they are not to be dragged away except where necessity or sufficient authority compels, and most of all is an improper or metaphorical sense to be avoided when, from other words and circumstances, joined together in the very context and discussion, the propriety of the discussion can be made clear. But apparent things or images do not have per se a stable signification but only the one for which they are then assumed or imposed when they appear; which signification is metaphorical or as it were analogical, and depends on the will or intention of God revealing, and therefore it is very obscure and cannot be understood unless it be made clear in words by the same Prophet, or the meaning be gathered from other places of Scripture, or at least afterwards it finally be recognized from what happens. Paul, then, did not speak about Antichrist in visions of images but in words, and by such words does he point him that he is plainly speaking about him as about one individual person, and his morals and circumstances he so describes that they are wont to come together only in one, and not in all, of those who succeed on some throne.
spacer 3. But Daniel in truth narrates the future things revealed to him, not in words, but in the images of beasts. Hence he indeed uses words that immediately signify beasts, and in order to point out that they are not true but imaginary, he does not say absolutely, the first was a lion, but like a lion, the second like a bear, the third like a leopard; but the beasts themselves were signifying what, by a certain analogy, they were imposed and shown for representing, and did not have another improper or transferred signification. And therefore they could easily represent kingdoms and not certain persons, or conversely, according to the choice of the revealer. Hence therefore it happens that by the beasts are sometimes signified kingdoms, sometimes certain persons. For in Daniel 7 by the lion having wings of an eagle is signified the kingdom of the Chaldaeans, by the bear the kingdom of the Persians and Medes, by the leopard the kingdom of the Greeks, and by the fourth beast the kingdom of the Romans. But in chapter 8, however, by the ram is signified King Darius, by the goat Alexander, as is expounded by Daniel himself. Therefore from representation by a vision of beasts no argument can be made for the signification of the words, for it varies, or it is imposed at the choice of the revealer; but the words are of themselves fixed and certain, unless it be clear from elsewhere that they are being transferred to a metaphorical sense.
spacer 4. Besides I add that though by beasts be signified kingdoms in Daniel ch.7, nevertheless by them singly is principally signified the first founders and extenders of each kingdom, in whom are found principally the properties that are represented by such images and visions. And thus the winged lion chiefly represented Nebuchadnezzar, the founder of the kingdom of the Chaldaeans, a very fierce man and given to lust, as Jerome notes, who says also that the bear, because of its hardness and fierceness represented Cyrus, the greater founder of the empire of the Persians. But the winged leopard represented Alexander, the head of the empire of the Greeks, who subdued the world with great force and speed. Thus therefore by the fourth beast is signified rather Julius Caesar or Augustus Caesar, although it seem more probable that a particular man was not signified, because that empire was at the beginning not a monarchy but an aristocracy.
spacer 5. Now by the ten horns of that beast are said expressly to be signified ten kings, namely, those who are going to subdue ten kingdoms, into which they will divide the Roman empire. Thus therefore by the little horn is represented a king indeed, the beginner of a new empire, who is none other than Antichrist, as Jerome, Theodoret, and all the Fathers have understood. But there is a difference, because about the other empires, of the ten kings, it is not said how much their thrones were or are going to endure; and therefore both the founders themselves and their successors could be represented by those very images of beasts for the ten horns; but about the empire of Antichrist it is signified sufficiently, both there and in the other places to be dealt with below, that it will last a short time, and therefore by that little horn the empire of Antichrist is so signified that it is also represented by one only and individual person.
spacer 6. Second the Protestants object the place of Paul, 2 Thessalonians 2, and they say (as I reported above from Beza) that unless there be given one man who remains surviving from Paul’s times up to the Day of Judgment, Antichrist cannot be some definite individual man; for Paul in the cited place when he taught the Thessalonians, v. 2, that “the day of the Lord” (namely for judging) is not yet at hand, because, v. 3, “except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed,” that day will not come, he subjoins, vv .6 - 8, “Now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work [or: he doth already work the mystery of iniquity]; only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth.” Paul, then, teaches two things, namely that Antichrist had already then begun to work his iniquity and apostasy from Christ that is to be consummated by Antichrist at the end of the world, and that he himself must be killed and then the day of the Lord will come. But these things cannot be understood of the same person, because one and the same man cannot work iniquity in the time of Paul and continue persecuting the Church up to the end of the age, and then be revealed and killed by Christ.
spacer 7. Because of this testimony some have said that Nero was Antichrist, whose opinion we will treat of below in chapter 4, because they did not deny that Antichrist was a particular person. That opinion set aside then, Protestants either do not know or pretend not to know the double signification of the name of Antichrist set down in the second chapter, for the objection made proceeds from ignorance thereof. For just as John said, “Antichrist shall come, and even now are there many antichrists,” because there is one who is individually foretold and many who, by participating in his iniquity, prefigure him as it were, so also Paul said that Antichrist had already in his time begun to work iniquity, although it is to be consummated at the end of the world. The heretics err, therefore, in not distinguishing between Antichrist commonly and properly said, or (which is the same) between Antichrist in type and in person. For Antichrist in type is not one person, but a body or succession of many tyrants persecuting the name of Christ. But the proper Antichrist in person, and who has been by antonomasia foretold, is a unique and singular person. But Paul spoke about both in the place cited. For when he says, “the mystery of iniquity doth already work,” he is speaking of Antichrist in type. Whom at that time many Fathers understood to have been Nero, especially Chrysostom on that place, and Theophylact. And the same Chrysostom serm. De Eleemosyna and collat. and homil. De Praemiss Sanctor. and Ambrose there and Jerome epist. 151 to Algas. q.9. Tertullian touched on it in De Resurrect. Carn. ch. 24, and Augustine in De Civitat. XX.19, where indeed he says the interpretation is uncertain because of the ambiguity of the place, but he does not condemn it. He adds however another, which is followed by Theodorus and Sedulius on Paul, namely, that any heresiarch and enemy of Christ is included under him who works “the mystery of iniquity.” But this matters little for the present; for all agree in this that he who was then working the mystery of iniquity was not Antichrist but a type, an image, a precursor, or a signal member of Antichrist. To signify which Paul did not say simply “works iniquity,” but rather “works the mystery of iniquity,” either calling Nero the mystery of iniquity, if the word “mystery” is the subject of the proposition and is put in the nominative case and he is called mystery because he was a figure of Antichrist, or certainly calling the persecution itself by Nero the mystery of iniquity in the accusative case, because Nero by persecuting Christians was working the mystery of iniquity, that is, tyranny, which was the image of the future persecution of Antichrist.
spacer 8. Hence so far is it from being proved by that place that Antichrist proper is not one definite person that rather the opposite is proved by it. For Paul evidently distinguishes the mystery of iniquity, or him who was then working the mystery of iniquity, from “that Wicked…, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth.” Nay, he thence teaches the Thessalonians that the Day of Judgment is not yet at hand, because “that man of sin” had not yet been revealed, that is, the true and proper Antichrist. About whom he also subjoins, “Now ye know what withholdeth &c.” namely, lest that Antichrist come. But Paul does not plainly declare what it was that was detaining the advent of Antichrist, but he signifies that the Thessalonians already knew it, because when he was with them he had instructed them (as he at once subjoins) that Antichrist would not come until the Roman Empire were taken out of the way, or were to come to that state wherein it could by Antichrist be altogether destroyed, as the Fathers expound. Therefore Paul always supposed that Antichrist proper is someone else distinct from him who was then working the mystery of iniquity, and about him he always speaks as of an individual man, as I considered in the preceding chapter.
spacer 9. Hence too the King of England in his Preface p. 67 admits that from that place is rather proved that “the time at which the Antichrist would come, and there would be a universal falling away, was not going to arrive except a long time after when Paul wrote that epistle.” For this very thing is what Paul handed on to the Thessalonians and studied to prove derived from that principle that not only had Antichrist not yet come, but neither was he to come soon, otherwise he would not rightly have concluded that the day of the Lord was not yet at hand. Nevertheless, the same king yet does not deny that Antichrist is a particular person, although he tries to prove it, not from that place, but from another, as we will see in the next chapter.



1. Objection of the King of England from Revelation. spacer2 Response. spacer3. By the name of whore is understood pagan Rome or the world. spacer4. The beast on whom the whore was borne was not Antichrist but his figure. The emperors too, the persecutors of Christians, are signified in the scarlet beast. spacer5. Nero was in figure the beast and the mystery of iniquity. spacer6. By the seven kings some understand the persecutors of the good in the seven ages of the world. spacer7. Others understand by the beast Antichrist and his precursors. The seven heads do not signify an indeterminate number. The persecutions of the Church are nine according to some, more according to others. spacer8. Nero the first persecutor of the Christians. Other persecutors after Nero. spacer9. Reason for doubt to the contrary. Response. spacer10. The persecution of Julian the heaviest.spacer 11. The King of England by the seven heads understands the seven forms of the governance of Rome. spacer12. This is shown to be fashioned without foundation.spacer 13. The same must be said about the decemvirs. spacer14. The governance of the Pontiffs is not signified by John through the king who is said to be the seventh. The contrary is repugnant to the words of Revelation.spacer 15. From the time of Boniface nothing of the ancient faith was changed.

HIRD, the King of England objects in his Preface p.98 where he thus speaks: “That by the whore of Babylon, who rides on the beast, is designated the seat of some empire and a continued series of certain men in succession presiding over it, and not some one man, is clear from the form whereby Antichrist himself is described in diverse places in the book,” that is, in Revelation; and he introduces ch.17 of the same book wherein John reports that there was shown to him, v. 3, “a woman sitting upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.” About which woman he concludes at the end of the chapter, v. 18, “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” From which the king concludes that “the woman cannot signify the definite person of one man, but several men continually succeeding to each other, whose seat is that great city.”
spacer 2. I reply that though we grant the king that the city signified by the woman is Rome, as he himself intends, and that the seven kings signified by the seven horns are the seven forms of governance of that city, and that the eighth will be Antichrist, as the same king on his own judgment outlines; although, I say, we freely grant all these things, I do not see whence he might infer, with foundation in the text, that Antichrist is not one definite person. For although the woman signifies a city, wherein there is, represented by the beast, some empire with succession of several kings or several forms of governance, nevertheless the beast, which is also said to signify Antichrist, could signify one tyrant and one man. Neither can from the text anything be inferred that even apparently signifies something else. For if perhaps the argument from similars be made, that if the woman signifies a city and the beast an empire with succession of people presiding over it, the beast too, in order to represent Antichrist, will in a similar way signify a series of tyrants &c., assuredly the consequence is of no moment. For these imaginary representations, or enigmatic figures are not always shown or proposed to signify the same thing, or in the same way, as is evident of itself.
spacer 3. I add that, in the exposition of the king, whereon he founds his objection, there are indeed things, in which he agrees with some Catholics, that are probable but unsure; but there are other things proper to the king that can hardly or in no way subsist. For, in the first place, although it be probable that the whore represented Rome, as Jerome expounds, epist. 151 to Algas q. 11, and Tertullian Book III Contra Marcion and Contra Iudaeos, who do not understand Christian Rome but pagan Rome, yet it is also very probable that she represented, not some particular city, but the city of the devil or of the world, in the way Augustine distinguished it, that is, the whole troop of the impious, from the city of God. In the way too that Jerome said, on Psalm 54, that there were two cities in the world, Babylon and Jerusalem. “By Babylon,” he says, “the evil are understood.” And these are wont by Scripture to be called the world. For thereto all the things agree that are said about the woman; for with her all the kings of the earth committed fornication, and by her were all made drunk who inhabited the earth, that is, men, as it were, earthly and animal. And the rest in like manner. But with this interpretation of the woman laid down, it is not necessary that the beast on which she is seen to sit is Antichrist, but Satan, as many writers have taught; for the devil sustains, as it were, the whole body of the impious, and therefore is she said to sit on him; and the rest that is there said is easily accommodated to the devil. Since therefore the devil or Satan is not a collection of persons succeeding to each other in some kingdom, but a certain individual person, it is not necessary that the beast, as the king wishes, represented a continued series of persons, but the one prince of demons, who, to attack Christ and his Church, uses, through succession of times, his own satellites, as well the bad angels as wicked men and many tyrants.
spacer 4. Besides, although we grant that “the whore of Babylon” (as the king says) is Rome, and the beast on which Rome sits is Antichrist, it is not necessary that the beast is the sole or the true and proper Antichrist, but rather one should say that the beast was first Antichrist in figure or mystery, but eventually, in the proper and true Antichrist, is to fail. And accordingly, although we grant that the Antichrist represented by the beast demands not one man only but a succession of many, nevertheless we say that the succession is fulfilled in the emperors who by their own malice and tyranny prefigured Antichrist; but when the succession will be completed in the true Antichrist, he is to be only one individual person. But how conformable this response is to the Evangelist will easily be understood by him who has carefully considered how appositely the Roman emperors who exercised tyranny over Christians are signified by the “scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy;” for that these epithets are not attributed to the woman but to the beast is both taught by all interpreters and is manifest from the Greek text. For it is called “scarlet” because, v. 4, it “was arrayed in purple and scarlet,” as is said later; but by purple is empire wont to be signified, because it was as it were the proper mark of that dignity, and, in order to explain it further, the beast is said to be “decked with gold and precious stones and pearls.” It can also be said to be ‘scarlet’ because of the blood of the martyrs, about which it is said later, v .6, “And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs.” For although the beast shed blood, and therefore can be called scarlet, yet the woman, that is, the city, was drinking it, by the fact she was drunken, persecuting the Christians with hatred and by worshipping idols, because of which she is in the same place called, v. 5, “mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.”
spacer 5. But that the beast in its representation not only includes Antichrist in person but also in figure, is sufficiently indicated by the word ‘mystery’ that is interposed by John, and it is very well explained by the words of Paul 2 Thessalonians 2:7, “the mystery of iniquity doth already work,” namely Nero, who in the persecution of Christians began to foreshadow Antichrist, as all the Fathers expound. The same is also very well declared by the other words there subjoined, and thus are they understood, Revelation 17:8, “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit.” “Was” namely in mystery and figure, because before John began to describe it Nero was already working the mystery of iniquity, whom many emperors afterwards imitated. “Is not,” however, in person, but “shall ascend out of the bottomless pit and go into perdition,” as had been foretold of the person of Antichrist in chs. 11 and 13. Next, thus too can the other words subjoined later be not incongruously understood, vv. 8, 11, and “the beast that was” (namely in figure), “and is not,” that is, has not yet come, “even he is the eighth,” because he is a distinct person from the seven emperors who, by their tyranny, more signally represented him, and therefore he is “of the seven,” because he will usurp their empire and will increase and consummate their cruelty; yet he “goeth into perdition,” because he will reign a short time and will be at once condemned. So from this interpretation, which is very probable, is rather gathered that, just as the seven emperors, who worked the mystery of iniquity of Antichrist, were definite and individual persons, so too Antichrist proper, who will come after them, will be a definite and individual person. Nay, although the first seven heads can be so understood or expounded that in them singly are understood not only unique persons but some succession of persons, nevertheless the eighth, who “was and is not,” will be a unique individual person, because he will last a very short time, and will at once without succession go “into perdition”, as is signified in the same place.
spacer 6. Wherefore, to solve the objection, it matters little to expound who the seven kings are, who the Angel said in interpretation were signified by the seven heads of the beast. For in whatever way those kings be understood, Antichrist, who will be after them, will be a unique and individual person, which I briefly declare according to the two more received expositions. One is that of the many who, for explaining those seven kings, distinguish seven ages of the world: the first from Adam up to the Deluge, the second from the Deluge up to Abraham, the third from Abraham up to David, the fourth from David up to the Babylonian Captivity and the end thereof, the fifth from the end or the return of the people from captivity up to Christ, the sixth from Christ up to Antichrist, and the seventh they attribute to the times of Antichrist. Hence in the first six ages they say that by individual kings are understood all the cruel kings and tyrants who in individual ages persecuted the saints. Of which kings “five are fallen,” as John says, v. 10, “and one is,” that is, the sixth, “and the other is not yet come,” namely Antichrist. About whom the same John adds, “and when he cometh, he must continue a short space,” so as to signify that although the first kings continued, not in one person, but in a succession of many, because their ages were lasting, yet the last age will be very brief, and therefore the king who will rule in it will be one only and individual person. However, according to this exposition, the beast, which is immediately said to be the eighth, is not understood to be Antichrist, but the devil, of whom it is said that he “was” in the former ages, because he was loosed, but now in the sixth age it is said that he “is not,” because he has been bound by Christ, and afterwards it is said that “he shall ascend out of the bottomless pit,” because he will be loosed in the time of Antichrist, and in him will he come and with him will he reign.
spacer 7. The other exposition supposes that by the beast is understood not the demon but Antichrist, or rather the Roman Empire, not absolutely and in all its fullness, but as working the mystery of iniquity, that is, of the persecution of Christians in the precursors of Antichrist up to the true Antichrist, who will pour out all iniquity. And thus is the beast well and in conformity with Paul understood to have begun in Nero. But it is said that he has seven heads because of the emperors his successors; under whom some think are included all who in that empire persecuted Christians, whether they were few or many, a definite number being taken as indefinite, or as universal. But this is difficult of belief, since John distinctly numbers five who have gone before, one who is, and another who will be; for this very distinct computation is not done in an indefinite number. And therefore others properly understand the words of the seven emperors only who were from Nero up to Nerva. For John lived and prophesied at that time; and therefore he mentioned only the mystery of iniquity that in the time when he was writing had partly preceded, partly was being worked, partly was to endure next, but from there he made a transition to Antichrist. Which also seems difficult. For why are others not there numbered, especially Trajan, who at more or less the same time, and while John was living, very bitterly vexed the Christians? Hence it can be added that by the seven kings can be understood some more signal of the persecutors of Christ who were among the pagan Roman emperors and were types of Antichrist. For although the persecutions of the Church are numbered in various ways, nevertheless they can, by a consideration not to be despised, be reduced to the number that can be accommodated to the vision. For Severus Sulpicius, Book I of Sacr. Hist.. numbers only nine persecutions of the Church, beginning them from Nero. But others from the same beginning number ten, on the evidence of Augustine De Civit. Dei XVIII.52. Thence Sulpicius posits one that is omitted in Augustine’s narration, and conversely; wherefore we might easily reduce them to seven or eight. But Augustine does not think one should begin from Nero, nor stop at Diocletian, as others do, and therefore he thinks they are in some greater number, and that indefinite and to be multiplied with the variety of times.
spacer 8. But whatever be true of the thing itself seen pure and in itself, in its order to the place of John that we are now treating of, not without cause is Nero said to be the first persecutor of Christ, because John is not speaking of all the enemies of Christ but of Antichrist and his precursors; and perhaps he was not speaking absolutely and simply about all of them, but about those on whom the Roman empire or the Roman city was seated. Now among these Nero was the first who after Christ launched, by public edict, a war against Christ, because of which Paul said of him individually, “the mystery of iniquity doth already work;” about which mystery John too seems to be speaking, as I said, and therefore rightly is he reckoned the beginning and as it were the foundation of mystical antichristianism in the Roman empire. But after him John numbers another seven, in whom it is probable that he numbers and understands those who were the heads of new persecutions of Christians. For as Optatus said in Book III of Contra Parmenianum. “A new persecution of Christians in the Roman empire is thought then to have been made when by a public edict of the Emperors Christians were for some new reason vexed;” and therefore not all who continued a persecution begun by one are numbered distinctly among persecutors and mystical antichrists, but those only who either renewed persecution in new ways and with new edicts or who restored one that had already ceased. Thus after Nero are numbered among persecutors Domitian, and after him Trajan, although others intervened between them, and thus can the others be counted, as Marcus Aurelius, Decius, Diocletian, Julian the Apostate, or someone else similar.
spacer 9. But in the way of this exposition stand above all the words of John, where he says about the seven kings, “five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come;” for John signifies by these words that when he was writing five of the seven had gone by and the sixth was actually ruling; but if so it is, there could not be counted in that number the emperors who were after John, as Decius, Diocletian, and others. However someone could say that John spoke in prophetic manner of the future, partly as past or present, partly as future, in diverse respects in their order to the Christian empire. Such that John says that the five chief enemies of Christ who persecuted the Church before the Christian emperors, that is, before Constantine, are fallen, of which sort can probably be reckoned the first five who ruled next after Nero, namely Galba, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, and Nerva, passing over Otho and Vitellius about whom, because of the brevity of time, no account is taken, and not counting Nero, because it is not necessary that he be included in that number. But the sixth, who is added as present, can be understood not badly to be Licinius, who right at the beginning of the Christian empire at the time of Constantine persecuted the Christians very gravely, on the evidence of Eusebius in Vita Constantini I.4 and II.1, and in Histor. X.9.
spacer 10. But the other, who is said will come after, can be understood not undeservedly to be Julian the Apostate, with whom rightly agrees that which John subjoins, “he must continue a short space,” and he was the last Roman emperor who persecuted Christ himself and the Christian name. For although many other heretical emperors assailed the Catholic Church, as Constans, and Valens, and Constantine Copronymus, and the like, they did not, however, launch open war against Christ but, under the Christian name, pursued true Christians. But of the other persecutors of the Church (although there have in various kings and sects been very many) account is not here taken, because, as I said, John is only speaking of the Roman empire. However, we admit that all these things are uncertain, because they rest, not on a sure exposition of the words, but only on conjecture and human accommodation; yet we only propose them so as to show that, in however probable a way that place is expounded, there is not therefrom gathered that the eighth king, by whom Antichrist is designated, is some body of tyrants, or a series of kings succeeding to each other, but a definite and individual future man, as Nero was, or Diocletian, and the other emperors there designated.
spacer 11. But the King of England, indeed, not content with these expositions, has found a new one, or has learnt it from his Protestants, invented for this purpose alone, that they might accommodate the revelation of John to the Apostolic See. For he says that the seven kings are not definite persons, nor Roman emperors, but various forms of governance that in the City of Rome will from its beginning up to its destruction exist, which he says are seven, that they are understood by the seven heads of the beast, or by the seven kings, whom, he declares, the Evangelist declared by the seven heads. “For at Rome,” he says, “there were first kings, then, when the kings had been driven out, consuls, dictators, decemvirs, tribunes of the soldiers. The sixth, at the time when John wrote Revelation, was of the imperial Caesars; the seventh, which had not yet come and was to last for a little time, is the ecclesiastical one of the bishops, which followed the translation of the empire from Rome to Constantinople. Although their governance,” he says, “was in some way subordinated to the emperors.” And later he adds that the eighth is Antichrist, which he declares in many words, saying that it is the governance of the same Roman bishops which followed after 276 years in the same see, namely from the time of Boniface III, as he later expressly says. All which things he brings forth, without any proof, by the mere authority of his word.
spacer 12. Before I proffer a judgment about this interpretation, I have judged I should preface an observation of Tertullian, in De Preascription. ch. 17 when he says, “An adulterating sense roars as much against truth as does also a corrupting pen. Diverse presumptions necessarily refuse to acknowledge the things that they are conquered by, and rest for support on things which they have falsely put together and which began from ambiguity.” That this, then, has in this whole cause about Antichrist befallen the Protestants is manifest indeed from this very interpretation that we are treating of. For, to begin with, we require in the whole of it some authority or proof worthy of belief; for if all these things are justified as dictated by a prophetic spirit, such prophetic spirit must be shown to us in some sufficient sign or way; but if it is only human conjecture, or rather invented by accommodation, they are contemned as easily as they are said. Not only because human conjecture is for the most part mistaken, but also because it has no foundation in the text, nor in the words. Nay, the king twists them to a foreign and uncommon signification. Such as is that by the five kings who went before, or are fallen, may be understood kings, consuls, dictators, decemvirs, and tribunes of the Roman City; and therefore did no one before the Innovators understand those kings so. Next, wrongly are those five members numbered as five kinds of governance of that city distinct among themselves and succeeding to each other. For the consuls persisted always from the time they began, and they held ordinary governance up to the emperors. For never before Julius Caesar was there in that republic ordinary governance by a dictator, but he was only sometimes by occasion created for a brief time. And therefore consuls and dictators cannot be said to have multiplied the kings or ordinary forms of governance in that city. For the consuls always persisted, even if, when a grave occasion arose, a dictator was created, who ceased after six months, or when the occasion ceased. Hence it was only a sort of extraordinary support, not a change of governance.
spacer 13. The same or greater reason also militates against the decemvirs, because the decemvirs were created, not for change of governance of the republic, but only for the sake of passing laws, and they sometimes received the power of ruling the republic. But they ceased within three years, and part of that time they obtained not so much by authority of the republic as by force. But this is not enough for judging it a special change of kingdom or of governance, otherwise a change of kingdom would have to be numbered during the interregnum, when a hundred were governing but one presided over the rest, whose command lasted only five days, and in this way in turn they took lots during the circuit of the year. For this nature of governing was no less distant from the kingdom than the decemvirate from the consulate, nor did the interregnum last for less time than the decemvirate. Finally, the same reason is more or less urgent in the case of the tribunes of the soldiers. Because there was, on account of adding the tribunes of the soldiers, no change at all in the governance or in the consuls, but the tribunes of the soldiers were added on from the people, being distinct more or less in name alone from the consuls. That distinction, therefore, and enumeration is not only willful but also strictly false and made up against the truth of history. For all histories distinguish only three times in Roman governance up to Constantine, of kings, of consuls, and of emperors; for the other dignities were only as it were concomitants to the times of the consuls, and were assistants on diverse occasions and in diverse ministries.
spacer 14. Besides, it is incredible and intolerable that the seventh king be said to be the governance of the holy Pontiffs from Sylvester up to Boniface III. For at that time Rome was a whore committing fornication by the worship of idols, nor did she have in her hand a people full of abomination but of the doctrine of the faith and holiness. For although perhaps many worshippers of idols were found in her, the city itself believed Christ and adored the true God, and as such was seated on the shoulders of the Pontiffs. And therefore the governance of the Pontiffs, which was at that time, cannot be said to be one of the seven heads. Especially since John says that the scarlet beast was full of the names of blasphemy, on whom was seated a great whore. It is impious, therefore, to think that the beast, as the foundation or support of fornications, was represented in that head in any respect, or that it was, as to one head, the governance of the holy Pontiffs, or (which is the same) that this kingdom of the Pontiffs was one of the seven heads of the beast. Besides, it would be said of that seventh king wrongly that “he must continue a short space” if he has lasted for two hundred and seventy years; for although by comparison with the years following that governance was little lasting, absolutely and in itself it cannot be said to be short. And especially because in comparison with the preceding years it was more lasting than the governance of the first Roman kings, who were only seven and according to received opinion lasted at most two hundred and forty years, and from the beginning of the consuls up to the beginning of the empire of Augustus only four hundred and seventy eight years passed by, according to the more common calculation,. Hence if that number of years be divided into three kingdoms, as the king wishes, each one of them lasted a far shorter time than did the kingdom of the holy Pontiffs, which the king makes the seventh; why then was it more said about it than about all the preceding that it must continue a short space? Nor do I omit to notice that altogether false is what the king interposes by the by and as if treating something else, that the governance of those Pontiffs was subordinate to the emperors, for the contrary was shown earlier.
spacer 15. What is supposed last, that the governance of the Pontiffs or the Roman bishops from the time of Boniface III was so diverse from the governance of the later Pontiffs that it was from Christian made antichristian, is an heretical dogma and an impious and mere imposture of the Protestants against all history, nay against experience up to the present day. For the same faith which existed in previous bishops persisted in Boniface III and his successors; and the primacy which then Boniface wished and professed to have, he did not usurp through rapine but inherited, so to say, from his predecessors; for they exercised and guarded the same primacy, as was demonstrated earlier, nor can there be shown in any other respect a substantial distinction of ecclesiastical governance. That distinction, therefore, of kinds of governance in the Roman See is vain, and consequently the whole exposition of the king, and the whole calumny of antichristianism imposed on the Roman bishops vanishes. And finally it is evidently proved that from the said place of John cannot be gathered that Antichrist is a series of several men in the same kingdom, but rather the contrary is indicated, namely that he is going to be some individual man, although it may from other places of Scripture be more evidently proved



1. We must make our way through individual points. spacer2. About Antichrist four things are foretold: his rise, his kingdom, his persecution, his death. spacer3. Various opinions of Protestants about the time of the advent of Antichrist. The King of England puts the advent round the year six hundred.spacer 4. The persecution of Antichrist is proved from Matthew to happen not much before the Day of Judgment. Objection and its response. Antichrist is rightly said to be abomination, and his persecution tribulation. spacer5. The tribulation of Antichrist will cease after his death. In what the tribulation consists. spacer6. The persecution of Antichrist is to cease with his death. spacerspacer5. The persecution of Antichrist will last three years and a half. spacer8. Proof from Daniel. spacer9. Proof again from Daniel and from Revelation. spacer10 - 11. A difficulty. It is solved.spacer 12. Double opinion about the end of the persecution of Antichrist. spacer13. Third opinion of the King of England asserting that it cannot be known for certain. spacer14. Our assertion is proved once the authority of the Fathers is set down.spacer 15. Opinion of more recent persons. spacer16. Opinion of others. spacer17. A place of Ezekiel poses no problem. spacer18. Though they signified a definite time, they make nothing against the true opinion. spacer19. The days from the death of Antichrist to the Judgment cannot be many.

LTHOUGH from the mere propriety of the name of Antichrist, and from the certitude and individuality of his person, it is very evident that what is foretold of Antichrist is very ineptly applied to the throne of the Roman See, nevertheless, because the King of England strives to show the contrary, at least by conjectures, we think it worth the effort, by running through the three chapters to which he reduces the revelations made about Antichrist, namely the time of his advent, his seat, and the description of his person, to weigh them individually and to show in the case of all of them that not only is there thence taken no probable opinion for what is intended, but rather that the opposite is proved from them one by one. But we begin with the circumstance of time, because it is more known and more evident.
spacer 2. Now about Antichrist four things are foretold us, namely that he will come into the world, that he will rule in it, that he will persecute the Church, and finally that he must be killed by Christ. All these things are plain; for of his advent it is said in Daniel 7:8, “and behold, there came up among them another little horn.” About his kingdom it is added, v. 24: “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise; and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.” But of his persecution it is said in the same place, v. 25, “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High.” Finally about his end it is added, v. 26, “But judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.” Also more clearly in Paul, 2 Thessalonians 2:8, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” According, then, to all these four things, as many points can be asked about the time of his advent: first, at what time he will arise in this world; second, when he will begin to reign and for how long he will reign before he begins to fight an open war against the Church; third, when he will begin to persecute Christians, or for how much time he will continue in this persecution; fourth, when he will be killed, that is, how long before the Day of Judgment. And although in the order of time his rise and reign will be first, to us, however, can be more known the time of his persecution and death, because they are more clearly revealed in Scripture, and therefore we will speak first about them in the present chapter, but about the other two times in the following ones.
spacer 3. Protestants, then, speak variously about the persecution and end of Antichrist; for of his beginning some say that it was from the beginning of the Church, as was seen in the two preceding chapters. Others report the beginning in the 400th year of Christ, others in the 660th year, or thereabouts; others around the 1200th, as is extensively treated of by Bellarmine. I De Romano Pontifice III.3. But the King of England seems to choose the opinion that puts the beginning of Antichrist around the 600th year. For he says in his Preface p.98 that the kingdom of Antichrist began 276 years after the transference Constantine made of the empire from Rome to Constantinople, which, as is probably believed, was done in the 330th year of Christ; from which, with the addition of 276, are made 606, at the time at which Boniface III was on the See, from when the King affirms Antichrist began. Nor does he seem to distinguish between the persecution and the kingdom, because he asserts that both began under the same Boniface. Nay, he thinks that the kingdom of Antichrist began in no other way than by beginning persecution, by forging new dogmas, and by usurping the power of Christ himself in the earth. But about the time of duration of the same persecution he thinks that it is not definite, but is the whole future time from the beginning of the same persecution up to the end of the world, or near the end. For of the time of the death of Antichrist himself, or the end of his persecution and of his reign, the king has also defined nothing, but says he does not know how long before the Day of Judgment it will be, as will be clear from the foundations he has which we will consider in the next chapter.
spacer 4. Now we lay down, to begin with, that, as perhaps neither the King nor other Protestants will deny, the persecution of Antichrist is to finish near the Day of Judgment, or (which is the same) the judgment will be not much after the completed and finished persecution of Antichrist, but proximately or as it were immediately after it. Thus does Christ the Lord seem plainly to foretell in Matthew 24:2 9 - 30: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven and with power and great glory.” Which words evidently describe the second coming of Christ for judgment, nor was there ever, nor can there be, controversy about this. But the tribulation of those days, about which mention is made in the same words, is plainly the future tribulation under Antichrist, about which the Lord had said a little before, v. 21, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” You will say that many Fathers and expositors understand these words of the tribulation of the Jews in the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus and Vespasian. For this was foretold by Daniel ch. 9, where he foretells the future abomination of desolation in the temple, of which Christ in the same place makes mention, when he says, vv. 15 - 16: “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand), then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains.” I reply that although it is probable that Christ wished to include this tribulation too, yet it cannot be denied but that he is speaking at the same time and chiefly of the future tribulation under Antichrist. Both because this is consonant with the preceding and subsequent words; for the disciples asked simultaneously about the time of the destruction of the temple and of the end of the age and of the advent of the Lord for judgment, because perhaps they thought they would be simultaneous; and so Christ replies with words that can be applied to each tribulation, and afterwards finally he starts to speak openly of the judgment. And also because strictly only the tribulation of Antichrist will be great, so that none similar was before or will be thereafter. And therefore Christ spoke most about it, and the same can rightly be called ‘the desolation of abomination,’ that is, of Antichrist. For as Irenaeus, bk.5 ch.25, rightly expounded, Antichrist himself is deservedly called the ‘abomination of desolation.’ ‘Abomination’ indeed because he will be a man supremely abominable, and surnamed ‘of desolation’ because he will bring about incredible desolation for the saints and Christians. Therefore from the words of Christ is sufficiently gathered that immediately after the end and consummation of the tribulation done by Antichrist against the Church of Christ, the signs of the Day of Judgment will begin, and a little later Christ will come for judgment. Which thing will from the following be more confirmed.
spacer 5. We add second, therefore, that the tribulation is to end with the death and through the death of the same Antichrist, not before; for although Christ did not there express this, it is evidently declared in other places of Scripture; for Paul 2 Thessalonians 2:8 - 10, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming; even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” From which words is plainly gathered that Antichrist does not leave off his persecution until by Christ himself and by his order and command he is killed. For that tribulation will most consist in coercion by torments, in inducement by temporal promises, and in seduction by portents and false prodigies; but from these that Wicked will not desist until he is killed by Christ and his power is destroyed; therefore, on the evidence of Paul, the tribulation finishes through Antichrist’s death, and not before. And this same thing is signified by Daniel 7 when he says that by that tribulation, v.25: “the saints…are to be given into his (Antichrist’s) hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” And immediately he adds, v .26, “But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume it and to destroy it unto the end.” In which place it is manifest he is speaking literally about Antichrist, and all the Fathers and Catholic expositors teach it with unanimous consent. Hence the same Daniel in ch. 8 speaking of Antiochus says, v. 25, “he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand;” which words are also said of Antichrist in the person of Antiochus, on the authorship of St. Gregory, Moralia XXX.12.
spacer 6. Next, in Revelation 19 concerning Antichrist and a certain false prophet of his who, v. 20, “wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast,” it is said that “these both were cast alive into a lake burning with brimstone,” and it is added about their associates, v. 21, “and the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse,” namely Christ, whom John had narrated that he saw first. It is clear then that the end of the future tribulation under Antichrist is also the future end of his kingdom and of his life. For although there be disagreement among Catholics whether he is to be killed in this world because of the words of Paul, or to be delivered into hell alive, as John signifies, or is to be swallowed up alive by the earth in a chasm of it so that, shut up there, he should die and be buried and his soul descend into hell, so that in this way the places may more easily be reconciled; this question is of no importance for the present matter, for in whatever way he is to finish the present life in this world among mortals, it is sufficient for us that he will not lose his kingdom or cease from persecution until he ceases to live in this world.
spacer 7. Third, one must say that the persecution is going to last for a brief time, namely for three years and a half, and thus it is to begin as many years before the death of Antichrist. So do all the Fathers teach. Irenaeus V.30. Hippolytus De Consummat. Mundi, Lactantius I.17 says. “It will be given to Antichrist to make the world desolate for forty-two months. The same in Cyril Cateches. 14; Chrysostom homil. 19 on Matthew, “On the Imperfect One ”; Ephrem, tract. De Antichristo; Jerome on Daniel 7 and 12, who says, “the saints are to be granted into the power of Antichrist for three years and a half.” Again Augustine, De Civitate Dei XX.18 and 23, who says, “That the very fierce reign of Antichrist against the Church will last a small space he even who reads this dozing cannot doubt.” And at once he declares the same time. The same is contained in Prosper in Dimidio Tempor. ch.17 and Rabanus in his tractate De Antichristo, which passes under the name of Augustine. And the same is the common opinion of the interpreters on Daniel 7 and 12, where see especially Theodoret on Revelation ch. 8 and following, Victorinus, Primasius, Bede, Anselm, Rupert, Aretus, and those more recent.
spacer 8. This opinion is also founded first on the words of Daniel 7:25, “the saints…are to be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” In which words by the name of ‘time’ is signified a year, as is noted by Jerome, Theodoret, and all on that place, and Augustine, De Civitate Dei XX.23, as is clear from Daniel 4:6, “Let seven times pass over him.” And again, v.25: “and seven times shall pass over thee.” And the same is repeated later. That usage of Scripture, therefore, exists most in that prophet, whom John in Revelation imitated. Again it is necessary that “time” there signify some definite measure of time, because otherwise it could not be counted; but it cannot signify an hour, a day, a week, or a month, because the time would be too little; nor does it signify some multitude of years, because the duration would, against other places of Scripture, be too great. Lastly, time is observed chiefly in the motion of the sun, whose complete revolution takes up a year, and therefore rightly is it by the name of time or of one time signified; for when another turning of the sun begins, a new time as it were begins, but in no multitude of years can a reasoning in metaphor so definite occur that it should be signified by the name of time in the singular. Hence too is it understood that when it is said ‘for a time’ it is set down exactly as if it were said ‘for one year’, especially when at once ‘and times’ is added. But this plural is to be understood of two and not of more, both because that suffices for the force of the word, whose extent is to be limited, lest it could grow immense and increase without limit; which is repugnant to the intention of the prophet and to the addition of half a time that is immediately made, and plainly indicates that the time is taken strictly; and also because, as Jerome and Augustine above note, in the Hebrew the number there is dual, which is not in use among the Latins, and so the plural is put for the dual. Therefore the word ‘times’ there signifies two years; therefore they are three years and a half.
spacer 9. Add that (as Augustine above notes) this time is explained by the same prophet by a number of days; for thus he says in 12:11, “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand and two hundred and ninety days,” which make three years and a half, and there are twelve days left over, which do not matter, because it is not necessary that the half year be precise, for in common speech a year is said to be half even if some days beyond six months remain. Besides, in Revelation 12 it is similarly said, vv .13 - 14, “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman (that is, to the Church) were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” Which place is understood by all of the time of the persecution of Antichrist with the same signification of those words. Hence a little earlier in the same chapter the same time is declared by days, when it is said, v. 6, “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” And likewise in ch.11 by days and months the same time is explained, when it is said, v. 2, “and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months,” and about the preaching of Elijah and Enoch it is added, v. 3, “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” Which do not make a complete three years and a half, for eighteen days are lacking.
spacer 10. Hence arises a difficulty, because it was said above that this time of months or years is not precise as to days, because it exceeds by some several days, but here days are lacking; yet it can happen that in the same number of months there be an excess or defect of days. But one must say that it is being thus narrated in order to the same effect, or to the same matter, but it could be otherwise in order to diverse things. Wherefore whenever there is enumeration by days, the number of days is without doubt precise, because it is required by the truth of the narration, although it not be necessary that the days at the extremes be complete, but it is enough that they have begun. Likewise too a narration by months requires a precise number as to months; however the last month can be incomplete, and therefore in the number of days there is not required so great precision. But if to a certain number of months a half is added, then it is necessary that the other months be complete, because the addition of half a month requires this for the truth of the number of the months, and nevertheless, as to the number of days, there is not required so great an equality, for a half month is said to be an incomplete month, whether it be precisely half, or more or fewer days than fifteen.
spacer 11. It is the same, therefore, when so many years are numbered, three for example, and a half is added; for the first years are required to be complete, but in the half there can be variety, because it is not always required to be either complete or precise as to the number of days and the completeness of the months. So, in the present case, the persecution of Antichrist will without doubt be three years and a half. And because in the other enumeration by days some days are added above the precise time of three years and a half, therefore those years must necessarily be understood as to the precise number of days, even if it is not necessary, as I said, that the last day is complete. But it is not necessary that the preaching of Elijah and Enoch lasts the whole time and all the days of the persecution of Antichrist; for they could be sent some days after the persecution has begun, or, which is more likely, be killed some days before the death of Antichrist, and consequently before the end of his persecution; and therefore, although Elijah and Enoch are said to be going to preach for three years and a half, or for forty-two months, nevertheless these can be incomplete as to number of days, although in the persecution they are not only complete but even in excess by some days. And in like manner the Church is in that persecution said to flee into the wilderness, and there to remain for the same time of years and months, because the saints at that time will flee into the mountains, and hide themselves in solitude and will there remain. However it can happen that they do not at once from the beginning take themselves to solitude, but after some days from the beginning of the persecution, and therefore as to the number of days that very time of years or months will be reckoned less.
spacer 12. Fourth, one must say that the end of the persecution of Antichrist and his death will only by forty-four days precede the Day of Judgment, or the Day of Judgment will be after a month and a half from the death of Antichrist. Against this assertion there opinions can be reported. The first is the ancient one of the Chiliasts, who said that after Antichrist’s defeat Christ will reign with the saints in this lower world in complete peace and earthly glory for a thousand years. But this opinion I pass over, because it has already been rejected by the Church as manifest heresy, and because it is of no importance to the present cause, and has in other places been expressly dealt with by theologians, on Sentences 4 d. 43, and by the expositors on Revelation ch. 20, where can be seen Ribera and Perera, Book VIII on Daniel at the end. With this opinion omitted, then, the second is that of those who say that the delay will be for a time of seven years. Because Ezekiel chs.38 & 39, describing the persecution of Antichrist under the names of Gog and Magog (as is the more probable exposition), says that when Gog has been conquered, that is Antichrist, and Magog destroyed, that is his army, there will be so great slaughter of enemies and so great peace among the people of God, that after the earth has been cleansed and purged for seven months in burying the dead, the inhabitants thereof will for seven years not need fuel from the woodland for lighting fires because the spoils from the arms of their enemies will suffice for that purpose.
spacer 13. But the third opinion denies that it can be known with certainty how great an interval of time will intervene between the death of Antichrist and the Day of Judgment. Which opinion is with so great exaggeration handed on by the King of England in his Preface, p.74, that he says “the opinion which the Pontiffs follow, by understanding the time of three years and a half and so many days properly and strictly, is repugnant to the whole New Testament.” Namely because therein the Day of Judgment is announced not to be know by anyone and to come suddenly. And besides, what prophecies there are about this matter are so obscure, because of the various and often metaphorical signification of the words, that nothing certain can be gathered from them. Hence he concludes, in the place cited, that a day is taken for a year and a definite number for an indefinite, or for a lasting duration.
spacer 14. Nevertheless the assertion set down is the common one of the Fathers. It is taught by Jerome on Daniel 14, by Theodoret, orat. 10 on Daniel, by Bede on Revelation 8, by Anselm on 2 Thessalonians 2, and rather frequently by the moderns, Bellarmine, De Rom. Pontif. III.17, Ribera and Perera, as cited above. The proof is from the cited place of Daniel 12, where, after it has been said that the persecution of Antichrist will last 1290 days, it is at once added, v. 12, “Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.” In which number forty-five days are added to the first number, which is understood to have been done for no other reason than that for so many days and no more after the end of the persecution is the judgment to be deferred. For because in those days even he can sin and be damned who remained firm in the temptation of Antichrist, he cannot be proclaimed blessed within that number of days; but he who will have come to the end of those days constant in the same living faith is pronounced blessed, because the journey will now be finished, after which there cannot be sin. And thus have the alleged authors understood that place.
spacer 15. But certain others more recent say that from that place is indeed gathered that there will be forty-five days before the judgment after the killing of Antichrist, but that the judgment will not be immediately thereafter, because that is not there said. However, if the force be carefully considered of that beatification: “Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days,” as we consider it, both points are very probably gathered therefrom. Because, unless after the 1335 days the end of the world and the judgment were immediately going to be, there would be no reason for those to be absolutely blessed who persevere up to that number of days, because they would still be living in danger. And for the same reason could they be called blessed who had persevered up to 1290 days, because they have already overcome the tribulation of Antichrist; and conversely could they be said to be more blessed who persevered up to 4000 days. Not therefore without mystery is that precise number of days posited, but because in it the wars and dangers of the saints on earth are to be finished. And this argument, as I will immediately say, has great force when a future time is so accurately counted in days, and in numbers great and small, complete and incomplete; for there is then denoted a great precision of narration, and that some mystery in that point is to be fulfilled, but here nothing else can be thought of except that it will be the future end of the world or (which is the same) the Day of Judgment.
spacer 16. Some say that the signification could be that not all the enemies of Christ and all the ministers of Antichrist are to be killed together with him, and therefore the persecution is not in every respect to be ended within the limit of those 1900 [error for 1290] days, but for another forty-five days are the enemies of the saints to be killed; and therefore are they from that point to be called blessed because, with their enemies extinct, they could in greater tranquility serve Christ, even if the judgment is not going to be so quick. But this is a willful conjecture and not very probable. Both because the time of the persecution is sufficiently precisely counted in Daniel 7 and 12; and also because it is not likely that, when Antichrist has been miraculously destroyed, and his false prophet, there will be fear of enemies among the saints of the Church, or that there will be some minister of Antichrist who may dare to persecute them. Besides also because in Ezekiel ch.39 under the names of Gog and Magog victory against Antichrist and all his supporters, Gog and Magog, is described in such way that he himself and all his ministers are to be killed together; for thus is it said, v. 4, “Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee.” And later, vv. 5 - 6, “Thou shalt fall upon the open field… And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles.” This narration, then, does not admit of those delays, nor will they be necessary, since he is to be killed not by a human arm but divine virtue and by prodigies, not only Antichrist but all his army, and all his supporters. Therefore, by reason of victory and quiet from the persecution of Antichrist, all can be said to be blessed who have persevered up to the 1390th [error for 1290th] day; therefore by a higher and truer reason are they called blessed who have been constant up to the 1335th day, namely since they have come to the end of all dangers, and “they will stand in their lot at the end of the days,” just as is at once said in the same place by Daniel 12:13. This exposition, then, is simpler, and more consonant with the words themselves.
spacer 17. Nor is there an obstacle in the words of Ezekiel 39 about the seven months for burying the dead, and the seven years for consuming in fire the arms of enemies, because they are not set down for predicting the future but for exaggerating the present slaughter. Therefore the sense is not assertive of future actions but is potential, that is, there will be so many corpses that for burying them seven months are necessary, and so many spoils of arms for maintaining a fire that they could suffice for seven years. Where also the seven months and seven years are not a certain but an indefinite time, that is, they could signify a long and a longer interval, as Bellarmine noted. And the same sense is seen by Ribera n. 71 and he confirms it with other testimonies; but I know not why a little later it displeased him.
spacer 18. I note too that, if one understands that place according to the outer form and propriety of the letter, there is at most inferred that there will be seven years from the death of Antichrist up to the judgment, as in the same place, n.23, Ribera hands down. Which indeed is no obstacle to our intention, because that time is sufficiently short for concluding that Antichrist has not yet come. However, with that sense supposed, there is no foundation left for the exclusion of it, namely that only for seven years is the judgment to be put off, at any rate from the force of that prophecy. Because Ezekiel only says that fire is to be maintained for seven years from the spoils of arms, but he does not say afterwards that this lower world will not exist for the human use of fire and fuel, just as it is. Nor is this latter to be gathered from the former, but that only after the seven years, the arms now having been consumed, will it be necessary to collect fuel, or to cut trees from the woodland; therefore nothing certain is thence gathered, although the brevity of the time be from elsewhere kept in confusion, as I will at once say.
spacer 19. Hence I add finally that, although the obscurity of prophecies and the variety of expositions be enough for this opinion about the forty-five days not to be certain before a definition by the Church, nevertheless this does not prevent it being thought more probable or even simply true. In which too I note that, although it not be de fide certain that so many days or so much time precisely taken is to be interposed between the end of Antichrist and the Day of Judgment, nevertheless it is very certain that that time is sufficiently brief and cannot be put off for many years. For Christ the Lord said in Matthew 24:29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened;” but it could not with propriety be said that a thing happens immediately after such a time which happens many years after the end of that time; nay, it is made very credible by those words that the signs which precede the Day of Judgment and follow the death of Antichrist will begin before those forty-five days are finished, because this is indicated by the word ‘immediately’ put in place by Christ; and it is per se necessary that the Day of Judgment could be at the end of them and after the aforesaid signs, or a little later.



1. The King of England contends that the kingdom of Antichrist will be of longer duration.spacer 2 - 3. However he lacks foundation. spacer4. The seven beasts and the seven head are kings in league with Antichrist. spacer5. Other expositions of the same place. spacer6. Some Catholic writers understand by the name of the beast the Roman Empire. spacer7. This exposition is favored in part by King James.spacer 8. The wound inflicted on the beast in one of its seven heads cannot be taken for the first siege by the Goths under Alaric. spacer9. The royal exposition does not stand with other words in the same chapter. spacer10. Rome received no wound in its head from the siege of the Vandals. spacer11. King Odoacer seized but did not ravage Rome. spacer12. Totila gravely afflicted Rome but did not inflict any lethal wound on it. spacer13. The assertion of the King of England is refuted by an argument ad hominem. spacer14. Badly are certain words by the King added to the text of John.

HREE arguments in particular I gather from the Preface of the King whereby he strives to prove that Antichrist will last for a longer time; but he himself does not distinguish between the persecution and the reign of Antichrist, because he either makes it of equal duration or at any rate judges that both will last a long time; and therefore we too in this chapter will speak about them as one, for we will later distinguish them more accurately.
spacer 2. The first argument then he takes from Revelation ch. 13 joined to ch. 17. For in the former John says, v. 1, that he saw the beast rising from the sea having seven heads. And about the same he subjoins later, v. 3:, “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed.” The King thinks, therefore, that the beast is Rome and the lethal wound that it received is the ravaging and as it were destruction done to it by the Goths and Vandals, and this wound he says: “will be cured in the head, or in King Antichrist, who will then arise and take possession of the kingdom for a long time.” Which he seems no otherwise to confirm than from consonance with the other ch. 17. Therein too John narrates that he saw a beast having seven heads, which heads he declares to be kings, to which he afterwards adds an eighth, who, v. 11, “is also of the seven,” and who “was, and is not.” And he (as the King expounds) “is Antichrist, who will begin to reign at Rome, after that Christian Rome, by the working of iniquity, has been plainly corrupted, and has lost the integrity of religion.” Hence, because he himself reckons that this has already been completed, and that “the lethal wound inflicted on Rome by the Goths has long ago been cured, and still the same throne continues at Rome,” he himself infers that Antichrist and his reign will last a much longer time than for three years and a half.
spacer 3. In all this way of arguing I find no force of reason or authority, because it is asserted capriciously and assumed without proof, because it serves his own opinion, yet nevertheless we are putting it forward lest we seem to omit anything, and so that we may, when we have for the occasion explained this vision of John, further confirm Catholic truth. About the vision of ch.13, then, we reply briefly that it is very probable that the beast represented Antichrist. For all the things immediately said about the beast are the proper works and signs of Antichrist, and because there is at once introduced another beast which proclaims the first and foreshadows his name, which all understand of the name of Antichrist. And thus did the ancient Fathers expound this place. Irenaeus V.28 and 30, Hippolytus orat. De Consummat. Mundi, Methodius in a like oration, Ephrem in tract. De Antichristo, Gregory, Moralia XXXIII.26, Ambrose, Rupert, Andreas, Aretinus, Anselm, and other expositors of Revelation.
spacer 4. Now although there is diverse exposition of his seven heads, yet the simpler and more received is that they signify seven of the ten kings who will exist at the time of Antichrist and that are signified by the ten horns in Daniel and in John. For because three of them will be killed and destroyed by Antichrist, but the other seven will be subjected and allied to him and will reign at the same time with him, submitting to him their fasces, therefore is Antichrist said to have seven heads. Hence the addition that “one of the heads was as it were wounded to death” need not be understood of the proper person of Antichrist; for this is not said there, but that he will in one of his heads be gravely wounded and will be cured. Therefore, not the beast, but one of his heads will receive the blow, but the beast himself will cure the blow, in external appearance to be sure, in some marvelous way, such that, v.3, “all the world wondered after the beast &c.” Therefore the sense is that one of those seven kings who serve Antichrist will be lethally wounded, perhaps in some war, or by receiving properly and literally a lethal wound in his own body, and he is afterwards to be suddenly cured by Antichrist in so marvelous a way by the art of the demon that all will be seized with admiration and will worship Antichrist. Or at least the understanding is more metaphorical about a wound in the state and the kingdom, because one of those kings will be conquered by enemies such that he seem to be altogether destroyed and deprived of his kingdom, and suddenly he will by Antichrist with supreme power be cured, that is, will be restored to his original state and kingdom, the enemies overcome, so that all should say, v. 4: “Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” Or perhaps both will happen and are signified together.
spacer 5. Hence, according to this exposition, when later in the same chapter Antichrist is called, v. 12, “the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed,” the wound must be understood not to be in him but in one of his heads. And, in the same way, what is said later, v. 14, “which had the wound by the sword, and did live,” must be understood that he had it in one of his allies, who will be as it were his members. Unless perhaps Antichrist will himself have seven kingdoms and in one of them he will receive that blow, which he will suddenly restore and cure. But in whichever of these it be understood, a long duration in the kingdom of Antichrist is not thence gathered, both because all this could be done in one month, and also because it could happen in the course of his reign before the persecution of Antichrist begins, according to what must be said in chapter 9. And according to this exposition it is clear that wrongly is the vision of ch. 17 conjoined with this one of ch. 13, both because perhaps the beasts seen in each may signify diverse things, as is clear from what was said above; and also because, although they signify the same Antichrist, yet they do not signify the same kings; for in ch. 17 seven kings are signified who existed in succession, for there it is expressly said, v. 10, that five have preceded, and one is, and another is going to be. But in ch. 13 seven kings seem to be signified who will exist together with Antichrist, and so they are not rightly joined together with each other. Then, finally, because, although from ch. 17 there be gathered a duration necessary for the succession, it is not, however, in Antichrist proper and his kingdom, but in a succession of tyrants who will precede him and foreshadow him and be as it were his precursors, as I have made clear in chapter 5.
spacer 6. But I add that there are not lacking Catholic writers blue who interpret the beast in ch. 13 to be the Roman Empire, and the seven kings to be perhaps the same seven who in ch.17 are also represented by the seven heads of the beast. Which is certainly not an improbable opinion, since in the said ch. 17 it is very probably that the beast is the Roman Empire, as I said in chapter 4, and it is likely that the same beast is signified in both places; but I think this must be understood of the pagan and tyrannical Roman Empire represented in those seven heads. Nor is the common opinion for that reason excluded, that the beast is Antichrist; for the understanding is not that he is so adequately, so to say, but because he will be the chief head of that beast. For he will seize the Roman Empire (its name destroyed), and will increase and complete the tyranny of his predecessors. With this exposition in place, the head receiving the mortal blow will be Antichrist himself, who will suddenly cure himself to the admiration of all, whether the blow was only a true lethal wound, properly cured before death was completed, or whether the blow was death itself, not genuine but feigned, and the cure was also a feigned resurrection, as Primasius on that place wishes, and Bede, Anselm, and some others, and it is the opinion of Gregory, Book XI epist. 3 when he says that the coming Antichrist will pretend to die and rise again. For this too is likely, so that he may pose as Christ, and it is not alien to the words. From which sense too the King of England has nothing whereby to show that the duration of Antichrist’s empire will be lasting, because the thing done could happen in a short time; nor does St. John say in that chapter that the beast will reign for much time after he has been cured from the blow.
spacer 7. To this exposition, indeed, King James seems in large part to accede, as to what concerns the signification of the beast. For as he judged that the beast in ch. 17 is the governance or the empire of the Roman city, so he seems to think that the beast of ch. 13 signifies the same empire or governance. Hence, as a result, he says that the beast wounded in one of its heads is Rome, “which received a lethal would from the Goths and was afterward cured,” and again, “therein Antichrist reigns for much time.” About which interpretation, or adaptation, insofar as he expounds the beast to be the City or its empire or governance, we have no controversy; for although it is less probable, it does not contain error against the faith, and therefore we permit it. But what the king then adds, that the wound inflicted on the beast in one of its heads is what Rome received from the Goths and Vandals, is confusedly said, because Rome was rather often wounded by those enemies; and no explanation is given of when it received that wound, and by whom it was through Antichrist cured, or in the time of Antichrist. Which if we run through each point briefly, it will be manifest that, in whatever way the king understands it, it cannot be applied to the exposition.
spacer 8. For the first Roman siege of the Goths was made by Alaric, in the year of the Lord 410, and at that time indeed we do not deny that, by a fitting metaphor, the City of Rome could be said to have received a mortal wound. Yet nevertheless it is wrongly said that John spoke about that, because the wound was not inflicted on the beast in one of its heads, as John said, but in the very body of the beast, namely in the city itself; for the head, which the beast then had (as the king himself wishes) was the Roman See or the Roman Pontiff. But the Roman See suffered no evil from Alaric. For, in the first place, Innocent, who was presiding at Rome, when Alaric almost destroyed it, had left to compose peace between Alaric and the emperor, and had stopped at Ravenna, “God thus providing that he should not see the destruction of the City,” as Orosius says, VII.39, and it is touched on by Sozomen IX.7, and by Nicephorus XIII.35; where he subjoins that he had permitted his soldiers to plunder the houses and pillage the wealth, but he ordered them to spare the one temple in which is the tomb of the Apostle Peter. “Which thing,” he says, “was the cause that all Rome did not utterly perish. For since very many had flocked together there from fear, they, having been saved because of reverence for the Apostle, restored the City with buildings anew.” Therefore, neither the See of Peter, nor the person of the Pontiff who was then sitting, received a wound, but the city itself, which because of the multitude of vices, and especially because of the remains of idolatry, is believed to have received that scourge, as the same authors and many others hand down. Therefore not rightly are the words of John applied to that destruction when he says, v. 3, “I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death.”
spacer 9. Hence much less can the other part of that prophecy be adapted to this interpretation, for John says, v. 3, “and the deadly wound (which one head of the beast had received) was healed; and all the world wondered after the beast,” namely after Antichrist, about whom is subjoined, v. 4, “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast, and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast?” Namely because in some extraordinary and marvelous way he cured the deadly wound, as all expound. With which interpretation the King does not disagree when he adds: “And thus that lethal wound, which it had received from the Goths and Vandals will be cured in that head, or in King Antichrist, who will thence arise.” But this cannot subsist if what the histories deliver is compared with that the king himself elsewhere supposes. For the wound inflicted on Rome by the Goths under the leadership of Alaric was at once cured, not in an extraordinary way or by the virtue of the demon, but by the special providence of God, men cooperating in a common and ordinary way. For Augustine says in his tract or sermon De Excidio Urbis that God by a special providence did not wish then to destroy Rome but to castigate it; and therefore he kept many citizens safe, by whom the city was afterwards restored. Which is further made plain by Niceophorus in the place and the words above cited when he says: “since very many had flocked together to the temple of St. Peter because of reverence for the Apostle, they restored the City with buildings anew.” Which restoration could have been brought almost to perfection in a few years.
spacer 10. But forty-five years later Genseric, king of the Goths, besieged the city and began to burn and demolish it, and so he inflicted a new wound on Rome when it was already cured of the first one. But not only did that wound not touch the head of the City, but an act by intervention of the same head was so done that the City itself was not so much cured of a lethal wound as by divine providence preserved. Hence Pope St. Leo in his sermon De Octav. Apostol. says, “Who has reformed this city for salvation? Who has plucked it from captivity? Who has defended it from slaughter? The games in the Circus or the care of the Saints? Namely by whose prayers the sentence of divine punishment was turned aside so that we who deserved wrath were saved for pardon.” And later, “We, not assigning our liberty, as the impious think, to the effect of the stars, but to that of the ineffable mercy of the Almighty God, who has deigned to soften the hearts of the raging barbarians...” Now that God did this by the intercession of the same St. Leo is reported by Paul the Deacon, Book XV, when he says, “By his meeting with Pope Leo, Genseric was softened, and he preserved the city immune from fire, slaughter, and punishments.” But he adds that, carrying off all their wealth, he led away many Christians to Africa. But that cannot be said to be a lethal wound, and it could easily be repaired, as is evident of itself.
spacer 11. But further, almost twenty years later, when the City had already been restored, Odoacer, king of the Eduli, besieged it again and seized it in the year 476, as Evagrius reports in Histor. II.16, and Nicephorus, XVI.11, and Cassiodorus in Chron., who, however, say that he did not burn or destroy the City but only seized it. Nay, Cassiodorus says of him, “although, with all his adversaries extinct, he had free dominion over Italy, he enjoyed very great felicity with temperance and modesty.” Therefore no lethal wound was then inflicted on the Roman City, or on the empire proper that was then reigning there, that is the pontificate. For Simplicius, who was then presiding, was neither deprived nor diminished either in his dignity or in his city, but the city, in the same state as it was before, continued in Simplicius and in his successors, Felix III and Gelasius, during the whole time that Odoacer lived.
spacer 12. Next, in the year of our Lord 547 and 550 Totila, king of the Goths, vexed Rome and seized it, and in part plundered and destroyed it, but did not inflict a lethal wound on it; and that wound, whatever it was, was at once repaired or cured. For in his first invasion, by the intervention of Pelagius, then deacon and afterwards the first Pope of the same name, and of the general Belisarius, he dealt kindly both with the Romans and with the city itself; and although he overthrew part of the walls, they were by the same Belisarius a little later rebuilt. But in the second invasion, although Totila at the beginning tried to demolish and destroy the City, yet ultimately he both called back its inhabitants and fortified it with new buildings. Therefore much less did Rome at that time receive a lethal wound, or had need to wait for Antichrist to cure it of its wound.
spacer 13. Add that, after all these wounds or persecutions, the beast, or the Roman City continued for fifty six years healthy and whole in peace under the same pontifical empire and in the same faith (even by the opinion of the King and Protestants), before the Antichrist, whom they themselves fabricate, began. For the king says that the Roman Church began to be antichristian in the year 660, but the last Roman irruption happened earlier in the year 550, as I said; therefore when that time came, the beast no longer had a wound which might under Antichrist be cured. And much less can be accommodated what John adds, “all the world wondered after the beast,” namely posterior to the cure of the lethal wound. Also, neither from that time, nor because of that fact, did the power of the Roman City or of the Roman Pontiff seem greater to the world such that all should, for that reason, worship the beast saying: “Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” Nor, lastly, from the fact that the Roman ruins, in whichever of the said sieges they were made, were afterwards restored, or from the way in which that wound was cured, can be gathered what John says, that the dragon “gave power to the beast.” For no one has ever thought that the restoration was done by virtue of the demon, but by divine virtue and providence, which wanted to chastise his people, not to ruin them, as Augustine rightly said in the said tract De Excidio Urbis and in De Civit. Dei I.1, hence no one but a madman or a pagan could be stirred up then to worship the dragon, but rather to praise and glorify God; therefore none of the things that John foretold in that place can, according to that vainly thought up exposition, be accommodated.
spacer 14. From which finally is manifest that the final words which the king adds to his interpretation when he says, “The mortal wound will be cured in the head, or in King Antichrist, who will then arise and take possession of the kingdom for a long time.” These final words, I say (which alone pertain to the present cause) are added without foundation by the king to that vision or prophecy of John. For John teaches nothing there about the lasting duration of the reign of Antichrist; nay about the beast that received a wound in one of its heads, and was healed, he says, v. 5, “and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months,” to do, I say, all the things that are there declared, vv. 6 - 7, namely to speak “blasphemy against God” and against “them that dwell in heaven” and “to make war with the saints &c.” wherein the persecution and impiety of Antichrist is described. Therefore that lasting duration of Antichrist is not only without foundation in the text, but is also thought up in opposition to its words.



1. The second objection of the king from Revelation. spacer2. Babylon is one true, one mystical. spacer3 - 5. Babylon is said to be the whole world. spacer6. This Babylon will be destroyed when the impious have perished. spacer7. An objection is solved. spacer8. By the name of Babylon Rome too is signified. But pagan Rome, not religious Rome. spacer9. It is probable that Rome is to be destroyed before the Day of Judgment. spacer10. The time of this overthrow is very uncertain. spacer11. Attack on the first part [of the king’s objection]. spacer12. On the second part. spacer13 - 14. On the third part. spacer15. It is uncertain whether the destruction is to be done by Antichrist or by one of his ministers. spacer16. It is probable that the ravaging of Rome is to be completed by Antichrist.spacer 17 - 18. From ch. 18 of Revelation is not gathered that the persecution of Antichrist will last beyond three years and a half.

ECONDLY and chiefly, the King of England gathers this long duration of the reign of Antichrist from another place of Revelation, ch. 18, where is first described the mighty fall and destruction of the great city of Babylon, which the king supposes to be the Roman City, and next is predicted a very great wailing of kings and merchants of the earth over her, and fear from wonderment at her desolation. Hence the King of England thus concludes, “From that very heavy wailing it is most plainly clear that the reign of Antichrist will last longer than the space of three years and a half, or the age of one man.” Now this he proves because “the kings who have committed fornication with her and lived in delights, must have had a longer time for contracting that great bond of affinity. But the merchants of the earth boast thus at length of her wealth and felicity while she stood, as if she had been the emporium of their riches, which they could not pile up in so short a time, and not even within a century.” From these two conjectures the king concludes that it is necessary for the reign of Antichrist to have a future not of three years, nor only of the life of one man, nay not of one century either, but of many; but how from those conjectures this follows he does not declare, since they do not seem to have any connection with each other, as will be by me briefly explained.
spacer 2. But it is first necessary to expound what that Babylon is of which John both in this ch.18 and in earlier ones is speaking. For a twofold Babylon is by men distinguished, one is material and proper situated in Chaldea, which was the beginning of the kingdom of the Chaldeans, the other is mystical. And although Andreas, ch. 53, thinks that John can be understood about both, all the rest, however, suppose it for certain that John is not speaking of Babylon proper, which even he himself indicates sufficiently, ch.17, when he says that there was written on the forehead of the city, v. 5, “Mystery, Babylon the great,” and he attributes to it many things that do not rightly fit the true Babylon. John therefore is speaking of the mystical Babylon; but what she is I am inquiring. Wherein I only find Areta, who in ch. 53 has interpreted the Babylon of which John speaks in ch. 17 at the end as Constantinople, but without foundation in Scripture or in reason.
spacer 3. There are then two probable expositions, one is that this Babylon is the whole world as to the congregation of the corrupt, which Augustine called the city of the devil in his books of De Civitate Dei, especially in Book XVIII at the beginning. Hence in Enarrat. 2 on Psalm 26 he speaks thus: “There is a certain city which is called Babylon. That city is the society of all the impious from the East unto the West, the earthly kingdom possesses her &c.” And in Enarrat. on Psalm 61 he says, “All who have taste for earthly things, all who prefer earthly happiness to God, all who seek their own things, not those which be of Christ, belong to that city, which is mystically called Babylon, and has the devil for king.” And he repeats the same Enarrat. on Psalm 86 [87] about v. 4, “I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me.” “Babylon,” he says, “is called a city in accord with the secular age, one wicked city Babylon, all the wicked belong to Babylon &c.” About this Babylon, then, is that place of Revelation expounded by grave and ancient expositors, Bede, Victorius, Tyconus, homil.16 on Revelation, Anselm, Primas. And Ambrose and Augustine as well in the commentaries which are under their name conveyed among their works, in addition to other modern expositors on that place. And the same is taught by Aretas, chs. 41, 42, 53, and 55, although in other places he seems to interpret otherwise. Nor does Andreas dissent although he adapts the words to other Babylons as well. Prosper is express and very good in Dimidio Temporis ch. 7, where he thus expounds that verse of Psalm 137:8: “O daughter of Babylon &c.” start
spacer 4. For this exposition reference can also be made to Peter Damian. epist .3 to Blanca ch. 12, insofar as he says that every wicked soul is included in the name of Babylon. And he expounds about the punishments of hell the words, Revelation 18:7, “How much hath she glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her.” blue And the same is also contained in Pacianus’ Paraenes. de Poenitentia at the end. St. Augustine too, on Psalm 149, similarly expounds the words of Revelation 18:6: “double unto her double according to her works; in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double;” and he understands them to be said of the world which is signified by the name of Babylon, although the aforesaid words are not literal references, but, “Thus,” he says, “is it written, give to her double for what she has done.” And from these very words or places is this exposition made probable; and in addition from these, v. 2: “and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit.” For these are very properly said of the city of the impious, and can scarcely fit any particular city. Again those words, v. 4, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins,” which are thus expounded by Cyprian De Lapsis. Just as those words too, v. 19, “Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships…” Again those, vv. 23 - 24: “for by her sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of the prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain on the earth.” For these do not seem able to be adapted save to a city occupying the whole world; but this is the city of the impious; well therefore is it by Babylon understood. And the same is confirmed by Aretas in his ch. 41, from the adjective whereby that city is often called “great”; for he thinks it cannot be put for distinction of a small city (for thus it would have too little emphasis and would signify nothing great), but for denoting the absolute magnitude, that is, the universality of that city; for it has occupied all places and all times, which seems also to be signified by Jerome, epist. 17 to Marcel., when explaining, not this chapter of Revelation, but ch. 13.
spacer 5. Nor is it difficult to accommodate to this signification of Babylon all the other things that in ch. 17 are said about it; for Babylon taken in this signification is not other than the world taken as to its bad part, in the way that is frequent in Sacred Scripture, as 1 John 5:, “the whole world lieth in wickedness…; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith;” and Christ in John 15:18, “If the world hate you, know that it hated me before it hated you.” Hence the world is numbered among the three chief enemies of the salvation of souls, and it is believed to be meant by 1 John 2:16: “the pride of life,” about which he immediately subjoins: “ of the world.” For this reason, then, will it rightly be said of this Babylon of the world that she “sitteth upon many waters…peoples, and nations, and tongues,” as the same John later declares (Revelation 17.1,). She is also called, v. 1, “the great whore,” because in truth, 18:3, “all nations have drunk of the wine of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies,” and the like, whereby the vanity and malice of the world is very well described. And finally is it rightly said of her that she is, 17:6, “drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus,” because all the impious have persecuted the saints, and the martyrs have in all the provinces of the world shed their blood for Jesus Christ.0
spacer 6. Now just as this Babylon is not made of stones but is put together from corrupt men, as Tyconius says, homil. 16, so its destruction does not consist in the demolition or burning of walls and buildings, but in the final perdition of all the impious. And so this Babylon will not be destroyed by Antichrist nor before the Day of Judgment, but on the Day of Judgment itself and by Christ and the angel ministers of his justice. Hence it is said in Revelation 18:8, “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.”
spacer 7. You will say, how therefore will “the kings of the earth…and the merchants…weep over her…standing afar off for the fear of her torment,” 18:9 - 11, 15, since they themselves are members of her and cannot avoid her torments? I reply that, nay, for this reason will they rightly cry over, because “they lament for her”, as is said in the same place; and because they will be in great horror of the torments they will stand afar off, namely not in body, but in affection, such that they desire as much as in them is to flee, but they cannot. Next, according to this exposition, what the King of England assumes is indeed true, that the kings and merchants of the earth did not have friendship and bond with that city save over a long time; but it does not thence follow that Antichrist will rule a long time, but that the city of evil will endure for many centuries, before it is judged and punished by God.
spacer 8. The second exposition is that by the name there of Babylon Rome is signified, such that it is there foretold that the destruction and stupefying vengeance of God on the city will be before the end of the world. For the fact that Rome is sometimes signified by the name of Babylon is clearly handed on by Augustine, De Civitate Dei XVIII.2 when he says, “the true Babylon was the first Rome, and the true Rome was the second Babylon.” And Jerome, De Scriptor. Eccles. in Marco, says that Peter, when he says, 1 Peter 5:13, “The church that is at Babylon elected together with you saluteth you,” figuratively signified Rome; blue and he has the same on Isaiah 47 at the beginning, explaining in this way too the places of Revelation. And in epist. 17 to Marcella he expounds of Rome this place of Revelation 17 and 18. The same writeron Isaiah 24 thinks that Rome is the spiritual Babylon of which John speaks. Orosius, Contra Paganos VII.2 has the same. And Tertullian, Contra Marcionem III.13, where Pamelius notes that this is to be understood of pagan or wordly Rome, not of the holy Church there gathered. For Peter sufficiently clearly distinguished them when he said, “The church that is at Babylon elected together with you saluteth you.” Next, the fact that Babylon is taken in this signification in Revelation is a sufficiently common interpretation among ancient and modern expositors of Revelation, both in this ch. 18 and in others, as Victorinus, Andreas, Aretas, Riberus, Viegas, also Bellarmine, De Summo Pontif. ch.13, Sander bk.8 De Visib. Monarch. ch.8, and many others. The exposition is also probable, because John in ch.17, if the propriety of the words is held to, is speaking of a special city, and in III.18 he is speaking, not only of a people, but also of a material city, as consisting of houses and other buildings, and situated in a particular part of the earth, which can be distant from or near to other places of the earth, as is indicated by the words: “standing afar off for the fear of her torment,” and by the words, 18:17 - 18, “And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, and cried when they saw the smoke or her burning.” But if that Babylon is some particular city, certainly it cannot be but Rome, as is sufficiently clear from what has been said, and as is manifest from earlier chapters of the same Revelation.
spacer 9. On the acceptance of this exposition, then, there can at most be gathered from it that the Roman City is to be destroyed before the end of the world, and to be utterly overthrown, even as to its material buildings, and given over to fire. Which thing many Catholics, not only without shame, but even with constancy teach and defend; they are referred to and their opinions extensively described by Thomas Malvenda, De Antichristo IV.4 and 5. And although he himself fears to descend to their opinion, and therefore tries to interpret Revelation in other ways (which it is not necessary now to examine or approve or disapprove), nevertheless it cannot be denied that the opinion is very probable and is very consonant both with the places of Revelation and with the ancient Fathers, especially Jerome, whose words are thus on Isaiah 24, “The city of vanity will be ground down, or every city or spiritual Babylon which sits purpled on the seven mountains, whose punishments we read in the Revelation of John.” Nor does he disagree with that opinion in Book II of Contra Jovinian, although he indicates that the prophecy is not absolute but a threat, when he says, “I speak to you who have destroyed by confession of Christ the blasphemy written on the forehead…the curse with which the Savior threatened you in Revelation you can escape by penance, holding the example of the Ninivites.” Add Lactantius, VII.25, who, on the testimony of the Sibyl, confirms that “the City, the head of the world” will burn and must fall; “and then,” she says, “who will doubt that the end has already come for human affairs, for the whole earth?” And certainly, on the supposition of the future devastation especially of the Christian globe at the end of the world before the judgment, partly by the ten kings who will precede Antichrist, partly by Antichrist himself, who will persecute Christ and his Church with greater power and bitterness and hate, it is per se very probable that one or several of them will rush upon the City and will utterly overthrow it, so that the Roman name, nay, and the Christian if they can, they should, with Rome destroyed, entirely extinguish.
spacer 10. But the manner, order, and time of this overthrow, although we assume that it will be, are far more uncertain than the overthrow itself; for about the overthrow itself we have a foundation in Scripture, according to its probable sense, but about the rest of the circumstances almost nothing. Hence the manner in which the learned man Thomas Malvenda describes the final Roman destruction according to the opinion of those who understand the prophecies of Revelation to be about the Roman City, is not even asserted by all who approve that sense; nor does it seem to me necessary, or supported on compelling foundation. For he says that Rome, near the end of the world, will return to more and greater crimes and outrages than it before committed when it was pagan; for it will deny the faith, and cast the Pontiff from itself, and will massacre the religious orders, and return to idolatry. For it will again recover its ancient temporal power with greater fullness and majesty of empire than it had before, and it will have the ten most powerful kings subject to it, by whose labor it will persecute the saints more bitterly and afflict them with crueler martyrdoms than they suffered under the pagan emperors. But afterwards within a brief time, he says, those kings will defect from Rome and rise up against her and utterly destroy her, God permitting it, in vengeance for her crimes both in the past and in the time of those present. For this seems to be indicated by the Evangelist John when in the same ch. 18 he said, v. 5, “For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” For it is to be believed that God will not permit so severe a punishment of Rome unless she herself first adds new sins to old, and so excites the wrath of God against her. And to this manner are accommodated the other things that John foretells in this and the preceding chapter. And finally after the destruction of Rome done by the ten kings, he says that Antichrist will come according to the other prophecies treated of above.
spacer 11. All these things indeed, although they are not impossible, nor repugnant with any prophecy or promise made to Rome that I know of, do not seem to me necessary nor sufficiently founded. For, supposing the exposition about Babylon that we are pursuing, we only have from this place of John that it is to be overthrown and altogether destroyed, so that “it shall be found no more at all,” as John says, v. 21, that is, it will no more be restored or inhabited, and therefore “no voice…of pipers, and no craftsman, nor the sound of the millstone, nor the light of a candle, nor the voice of the bridegroom and the bride, will any more be heard or found in her,” as is said there, vv. 22 - 23. The desolation, then, will be eternal, and therefore it seems certain and tested that that oracle, when understood of Rome, has been fulfilled in none of the preceding destructions of the Roman City, as the reader will easily conclude if he carefully compares what we have said about those destructions in the preceding chapter with the words noted from the present prophecy. Nay, thence is it made very probable that such Roman destruction, if it is going to be, will not be except at the end of the world, although this is not in the said ch. 18 asserted, nor is it elsewhere prophesied, and therefore it is less certain. Yet hence, in another way, is there proof that it is likely that so marvelous a destruction of the city and so monstrous a persecution of the Apostolic See will not happen except in the times of Antichrist or very near them, and therein will be fulfilled what Daniel foretold, that the daily sacrifice will cease, and the like.
spacer 12. But that before the destruction Rome is to return to her pristine power and temporal empire, I do not see whence it can be proved; because not everything that is said of Rome in this chapter must be found in it in that last time in which it will be destroyed, but in the whole course of time from when it was built up to the end. “Because,” as is there said, v. 5, “her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities,” namely all of them that were done in her at any time. Wherefore too I do not see whence it will be sufficiently proved that Rome will return to idolatry or to the like crimes which proceed from ignorance of the true God; both because, in order for sins to be said to reach unto heaven, it is enough that to the previous outrages of the impious there should be added new and very grave sins of Christians, by which God will be moved more to anger than by the offenses of the rest of mankind ignorant of the true God. And it could happen that in that time sins and outrages will be multiplied in that city with greater luxury and corruption than in the past times of Christianity. And also because, although that destruction will be in punishment of the corrupt multitude, it is credible that it will also be for the proving of the good, and for the purgation and merit of the predestined, as Christ signifies about the persecution of Antichrist and as the Fathers teach. It will not therefore be necessary for Rome to return to idolatry for God to permit her destruction.
spacer 13. Next, as to what is added, that the ten kings will be subject to the temporal empire of the City and will afterwards rise up against her, I do not see on what foundation it is asserted. For what John says here, vv. 3, 9, that “the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and will lament for her,” indicates at most that they will be friends of the Roman City, or perhaps that they first imitated her crimes but afterwards, by natural affection, grieved for her loss. I also add that it does not seem necessary for those kings, who will first commit fornication with Babylon and will afterwards lament for her, should be those very ten who will reign very soon before the advent of Antichrist, but other kings of the earth, who will not be lacking outside the Roman Empire, as in Persia, in Africa, in India, and other regions, who will perhaps remain up to the end of the world. Next, it is not necessary to understand by the kings of the earth only supreme and principal kings of the earth, but also great princes, and as it were petty kings, as are now many dukes, and potentates in Italy and Germany, and the like who, beyond those more famous ten, could exist at the time of the destruction of the City of Rome and first fornicate with her, not only through idolatry, but through other vices, by following the vanities of the world, and afterwards grieve and lament for her destruction.
spacer 14. Wherefore, from that place, on the supposition that by Babylon Rome is understood, there can only be certainly gathered that Rome must ultimately at some time be altogether and irreparably overthrown; hence it is made more likely that it will be near the Day of Judgment and at the time of Antichrist, or thereabouts. But in what state Rome will be just before she is destroyed, in both temporal and spiritual empire and in faith, I do not see has been revealed, nor can it with foundation be defined. But there is nothing unfitting that by persevering in faith, religion, and in governance both temporal and spiritual through the Apostolic See, as she now is, she should at the end of the world be destroyed by some tyrant infidel or pagan or apostate. For just as this in large part happened in the time of Alaric, so it could be completed more bitterly and in every part at the end of the world. Nor is this contrary to the sanctity of that city, both because, notwithstanding faith and the presence of the Vicar of Christ, sins could be multiplied in it such that, joined with the preceding ones, they may excite the judgment of God against it in accord with the hidden counsel of his providence. And also because, although the city and its heads persist in the faith, it could happen that the multitude of the people, both by the example of the chief citizens and by the threats or promises of tyrant infidels, is corrupted and falls away. Next also because, as I was saying, that destruction will not only be because of vengeance but also for the proving and more perfect completion of many martyrs. And therefore it is not even against the promises made to the Church and to the Apostolic See about perseverance in the faith and in the chair of Peter that Rome be destroyed in that way, because the chair will never fail, nor its faith, whether it be established in this place or in that; for the Church will everywhere be the same and will always endure visible, even if by force of persecution it be forced to flee to the mountains, or hide itself in great part in hidden places.
spacer 15. Next, neither from that place nor from any other (as to what I know) can it be sufficiently gathered whether this ultimate destruction of Rome is to be completed and consummated by Antichrist himself, or before him by one or several of those ten kings who will then rule in the Roman world. For that it will be in one of those ways is, on the basis of the said exposition, made very probable; because, as I said, so general a destruction of the City, the head of the world, and so great a calamity and persecution of the Church cannot be far distant from the times of Antichrist, and therefore will be either by him or by those who will immediately precede him. And again, from that principle it is made very credible that either Antichrist will not come before the Roman Empire is utterly destroyed or that by him the destruction of the Roman Empire will be consummated; but the Roman Empire will then most be destroyed when Rome is altogether extinct, and, contrariwise, while Rome perseveres in its state there will still be remains of the Roman Empire enduring. Therefore just like the Roman Empire so too the City will at the same time and under the same tyrants be destroyed. But because it could in one or other of the said ways come about, and neither of them has either been revealed or is repugnant to what has been revealed, it is clear that nowhere is it revealed that the Roman City will endure up to the times of Antichrist inclusively or intrinsically, so to explain the thing; therefore it could be destroyed beforehand by the ten kings. Again it is not only probable, but some contend even certain, that before the advent of Antichrist the Roman Empire is to be altogether destroyed by the ten kings; therefore it is probable that Rome is by the same to be overthrown. Which is also intimated in Revelation ch. 17.
spacer 16. On the other hand, however, nowhere either is it revealed that Antichrist will not come until the Roman City has been destroyed; therefore if it be destroyed by him, the prophecy of this chapter, which we are treating of about the destruction of Babylon, will be sufficiently fulfilled. Again we said above that it is very probable and in conformity with the Fathers that although the Roman Empire is by the ten kings, the proximate precursors of Antichrist, to be so divided and diminished that it be almost destroyed, nevertheless its destruction is to be consummated by Antichrist himself; therefore by him also could Rome be destroyed and extinguished. But when I say “by him” I do not understand it to be necessary that Antichrist himself be present in such war; for it is enough that he do it through himself or through his generals or the kings subject to him. Therefore can be understood in either way what is said of the fornicating woman in Revelation 17 and of the ten horns of the beast, that, v.16: “these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate,&c.”, if we understand Rome by the whore and Antichrist by the beast, as is probable but uncertain, as I said above, and in vol. II part 3 disput. 56 sect.2, where I taught nothing else about the ultimate destruction of Rome; nay about it I spoke as of a thing uncertain. Nor did Bellarmine speak otherwise, who thinks rather that Rome is to be destroyed by Antichrist himself. For at III.13 he thus speaks: “Antichrist will have hatred for Rome and will fight with it and will desolate and burn it.” And he thinks the same at IV.4 at the end. The same way of speaking is also followed by Bozius, XXIV.6, and he cites Tertullian, Lactantius, Cyril, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine.
spacer 17. Finally, we say (so as to respond to King James) that from this whole ch.1 8 of Revelation, whether from the destruction of the City therein foretold, or from the circumstances with which it is described, it cannot be gathered that the persecution of Antichrist will last a longer time than three years and a half. For if the ten kings are to destroy the City, although that war may last many years, or Rome may after it lie destroyed for many years, nevertheless Antichrist, after he comes, will be able to last for a brief time. But if Antichrist himself is to war against Rome, he could do it before he begins his spiritual (so to say) persecution of the Church, while he is acquiring temporal empire, which could last for several years, as far as it precedes the persecution, as I will say in chapter 9. And then the persecution could last only for the said brief time, as is per se manifest. Or certainly, although we grant that the destruction itself of the City will be part of the antichristian persecution, it could still, whatever John presages about that destruction, be completed in three, nay in two, years. Because it could not merely within a year, but even within a few months, be surrounded and stormed and committed to the flames and suffer the other things there described. And a little later there could follow that great weeping of the kings and merchants that John mentions; for if that weeping will be in the provinces and in the islands near Rome, notice of the fire could reach them within a few days, and to remoter parts in several days, or within a year, but the weeping itself could be completed in a briefer time.
spacer 18. But as to what the king objects, that a longer time will be needed both by the kings for contracting a great bond of affinity with that Babylon, and by the merchants for gathering riches, this, I say, proves indeed that the kings and merchants and Babylon itself are things that will endure for a long and lasting time before Antichrist comes or Babylon is destroyed, yet it does not prove that the destruction of the City itself, or the weeping following afterwards, will be lasting. Both because these things are different, and also because frequently things that have endured a long time are wont to be extinguished in a moment. Especially for the reason that in the whole of that chapter there is no word about Antichrist; hence although the things there being narrated would demand a more lasting time, we would easily respond that they are to be completed before Antichrist arises, as I declared could happen, but Antichrist will come after and must in a brief time be completed.



1. The King of England first contends that a definite time has been put for an indefinite. spacer2. Second, that the time assigned by John signifies half a spiritual week. spacer3. Third, he argues from the uncertainty of the Day of Judgment. spacer4. He amasses many testimonies from Scripture. spacer5. The king’s arguments are dissolved. spacer6. In Scripture a perfect number is often put for an indefinite one. By an imperfect number a definite duration is signified. spacer7. The place from the Revelation of John is incapable of accepting a metaphorical sense. The first foundation of the king is overthrown. spacer8. A perfect number is very often in Scripture put for a determinate time. spacer9 - 10. The second foundation of the king is destroyed. Daniel speaks one way about weeks but another way about the three years. The enumeration of months and of days cannot be accommodated to a week. spacer11 - 12. The doubt of Lyranus is rejected. A day in that place of John cannot be taken for a year. spacer13. A day in that prophecy is taken in the same sense. Confirmation from Ezekiel.spacer 14. The third foundation of the king does not impugn the true opinion. It is not de fide that the judgment will be immediately after the forty-five days. spacer15 - 16. The Day of Judgment can be known through conjectures taken from Scripture. spacer17. There will be very few who will be enlightened by conjectures. spacer18. Uncertainty about the Day of Judgment can be considered in a threefold way. spacer19. An objection of the king is dissolved. spacer20. The death of Antichrist will not be known to all men. Many of those who will have seen the death of Antichrist will not understand the Scriptures.spacer 21. The Day of Judgment will be known in the last time to the faithful, not to infidels. spacer22. The parable of the ten virgins is explained of the particular judgment. The announcement of judgment will be more sudden than its arrival. spacer23. The same parable can be understood of the universal judgment. spacer24. Another equation. spacer25. A third exposition.spacer26. A place in ch. 1 of Acts is explained. spacer27 - 28. An objection is solved. The words of Christ are not to be restricted to the apostles alone. Augustine contends that the time before the manifestation of Antichrist is uncertain.spacer 29. A passage from 1 Peter 5 is explained. We must be vigilant because of the traps of the demon and the uncertainty of death.spacer 30. Other places of Scripture are also explained. When death comes as a thief, then also comes judgment. spacer31. Death itself does not altogether come as a thief. spacer32. Death comes as a thief to the unprepared. spacer33. Although there be from the death of Antichrist a definite time, the Day of Judgment can rightly be said to be unknown.

HIRD, the King of England attacks the foundation on which we rest to assert that the persecution of Antichrist will last a very brief time. Against which he objects two things. One is that it is not necessary to interpret the words of John speaking of that time in their proper sense; because, when one looks at the manner of speaking of prophets, they can, with sufficient suitability, be understood metaphorically. Now he himself has in those words thought out a double allegory. One is that a definite number has been put for an indefinite. Because it is certain that John was accustomed to do that, as in ch. 7 when he numbers 12,000 of those who must be saved from the individual tribes, and in ch. 9 when he says, v.16, “And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand &c.” And the same is contained in other places, especially ch. 14 where he numbers, vv. 3 – 4, “forty-four thousand virgins,” and ch. 20 when he rather often says that Christ will reign with his saints a thousand years, and ch. 21 when he describes diverse numbers of measures. Add that John is in his numberings imitating the ancient prophets, especially Daniel, Ezekiel, and Zachariah, with whom a definite number is often taken for an indefinite, as Daniel 7:10, “ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him,” and often elsewhere.
spacer 2. The second allegory of the king is that those three times and half a time signify neither years nor a definite time, but half a spiritual week. “For those,” he says, “who call to mind that John is in his visions imitating the manner of prophets will find it very probable that in those three days and a half he is imitating the weeks of Daniel, taking one week for the whole time that will intervene between the first and second coming of Christ, in half of which time or spiritual week he introduces Antichrist triumphing.” This interpretation can also be assisted by the opinion of Lyranus, who thinks that in Daniel 12 it is uncertain whether a day there is taken properly for a natural day or metaphorically for a year, just as a week is taken by the same Daniel. The same therefore could be said of the places of John in Revelation, and so this exposition will be probable.
spacer 3. The second principal objection is that the words of John cannot be understood in their proper sense, because such sense is repugnant to other places of Scripture and to a certain dogma of the faith. He argues, then, that if Antichrist is to reign for a certain number of days and after his death the Day of Judgment will be within forty-five days, as soon as Antichrist has begun to reign and persecute the Church faithful men will know for certain on which day the judgment will be. But this is contrary to Christ’s words in many places. For, to begin with, in Matthew 24 he said, v. 36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” Next he makes clear, by similarity with the Flood, how suddenly that day will come, when he says, vv. 37 - 42, “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” “By all which things,” says the king, “the supreme security of those times is signified, that men will be involved in diverse business and human cares when the last hour will suddenly and unsuspecting seize them.” Just as Christ concludes in the said place, vv. 43 - 44, “But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”
spacer 4. Second, Matthew 25, to make clear the uncertainty of that day, Christ adduces the parable of the ten virgins, and concludes, v. 13, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour.” Third, we can add the words of Christ in Acts.1:7, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Fourth, the king adds the words of 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant.” “Peter,” he says, “bids us to be vigilant and sober, always intent on catching that day.” Fifth he says: “John in Revelation twice warns us that like a thief in the night thus will Christ come.” “I will,” says the Holy Spirit in Revelation 3:3, “come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee;” and ch. 16:15, “Behold I come as a thief.” Sixth we can add that Paul said this in 1 Thessalonians 5:1 - 3, “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them.” Finally that was also said in 2 Peter 3:10.
spacer 5. To the first part I reply that the literal exposition of the words of John which the Papists, that is, the Catholics, follow, is founded, in the first place, on the propriety of the words of Scripture, which is to be preferred. For one must altogether beware of the danger of deserting the true sense of the Holy Spirit. “Which,” as Tertullian said in De Pudicitia ch. 9, “we must altogether observe, and the precept equally;” because “transgression in interpretation is not lighter than transgression in conversation.” But there is great danger of erring from the true sense when the propriety of the words is, without authority or necessity, abandoned; but neither of these reasons is here found for abandoning the proper sense of the words, as we will later show. Nay, on the contrary, the said proper sense has foundation in the consonance and concord of diverse places in Scripture, and in diverse ways of explaining the same thing by times, months, and days, both in the Old and in the New Testament, so that it is not credible that everything was said metaphorically and improperly. It is founded, in addition, on the common consent of the Fathers, through whom God teaches the Church the true sense of the Scriptures; but which of the Fathers so think is sufficiently clear from those whom we adduced in chapter 6. Finally it can also have a foundation in that no metaphor can square with the place, nor has it a probable foundation, as will easily be clear by running through the things that the king adduces.
spacer 6. To the first part, then, of the metaphorical sense, whereby it is said that a definite number is taken for an indefinite, and a great or small indefinite number for indicating a long or short time, we reply that the rule taken generally is true, and it is in this way rightly proved from the testimonies there reported, and from many others that could be brought forward, but it is badly applied to the present exposition. For, to begin with, as is learnedly noted by Bellarmine, De Romanis Pontif. III.8, a definite number is then taken in Scripture for an indefinite time when it is perfect and complete in some order, as are ten, a hundred, a thousand. But when the number includes not only a great but also a small number, then it is a sign of a proper and precise numeration. And the reason is ready to hand, that the simple and absolute expression of one complete number can easily be capable of such metaphor, whether on account of some perfection of number, or for some mystery, as is wont to be considered in the number seven because of the creation of the world, or in the number one thousand because of its suitable perfection for signifying some fullness of time, as Augustine said in De Civitate Dei XX.7, where he thus expounds the “hundredfold” of which the Lord speaks in Matthew 19:29, to signify an abundant reward. And he proffers other examples in De Doctrina Christiana II.16. However, when there is minutely and distinctly added a lesser number to a greater, and a half number to a whole, it is a sign of a definite and proper enumeration, because otherwise we would never have any definite number in Scripture. Again, because neither can there be in that imperfection of numbers any perfection or length of duration thought of, nor is a probable reason given that such addition and multiplication of numbers should be made. And there is a very good example to confirm this in Daniel 8:14, where it is said about the ravaging of Jerusalem done by Antiochus that it will last for 2,300 days. Which number all understand must be understood precisely and properly because of the special way it is prescribed. And thus does St. Jerome there study to prove and declare it from the books of the Maccabees and from Josephus. The same is handed on by Theodoret, Orat. 8 and the Gloss, and Lyranus, and accurately by Benedict Pereira.
spacer 7. Wherefore I judge this part to be in such wise true that therein no clarification or limitation I believe to be necessary, both because it is founded per se on a very true rule of expounding Scripture, namely retaining the proper sense when there is nothing that points to metaphor or that requires it to be thought out; and also because no particular exception to this part is forthcoming. For if someone object the example of the 144,000 sealed for salvation in Revelation 7:4, and the other example of 144,000 virgins standing with the lamb in Revelation 14:1, Ribera there responds that by those numbers a definite and precise multitude is there signified. But because this is difficult of belief, I reply that that number thus multiplied contains a mystery, and therefore it is put for an indefinite number; for the number twelve is a universal number and, when multiplied by itself according to the number of the twelve tribes, it makes that number, as Bede, Rupert, and others interpret.
spacer 8. In the other part of the metaphorical sense, however, because it is not to be gratuitously and everywhere constructed, a limitation must necessarily be added. Because very often a perfect number in Scripture signifies a definite time and a sure duration, as when the world is said to have been created in six days, or when it is said in Daniel 4:25, “seven times will pass over thee,” where although in the word ‘times’ there is some metaphor, which we have explained above, in the number seven none is understood. Again, in the prophecy of Daniel about the seventy weeks, Daniel 9 and often elsewhere. And therefore that part is to be understood only permissively or potentially, that is, such numbers can be taken in that sense, and the metaphor is common in Scripture. Yet, nevertheless, in the use and application of it to this or that place, it is necessary to consider the circumstances such that the metaphor square with them and be in no way contrary to them. Again too must be observed the common interpretations of the Church and the Fathers. Which two things, as I said, prove that also in the said places of Revelation metaphor has no place, because it can be accommodated neither to the words nor to the circumstances of the places, nor have the Fathers found it there, but have understood a certain and definite time to be there foretold.
spacer 9. But the other part of the metaphor that the king has thought out is plainly impossible. First because neither John in Revelation nor Daniel ch. 12 named a week but times, months, and days; and much less did they speak of half a week, but made clear the propriety of their speech by other numbers of months and days. And there can be this confirmation, that when Daniel wanted to signify three years and a half by half a week, he did it openly in ch. 9 when he says, v. 27, “and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,” that is, when three years and half of the seventieth week have been gone through. Second, never by a week is signified in Scripture a wholly indefinite time, but whenever the term is taken metaphorically there is at least kept a proportion to the number seven, but the metaphor is put there because it extends to the number of years, as in the said place of Daniel and in Genesis 29:27: “fulfill her week,” that is, seven years. However in the whole time that runs between the first and the second coming of Christ, no reason for the number seven can be thought of, nor a probable cause adduced for such metaphor, nor authority, nor example; what then is this license for interpreting at will or rather corrupting Scripture? Third, although the metaphor of a half a week could be accommodated to the words, “for times, a time, and half a time,” yet in no way can it be accommodated to the enumeration of forty-two months, or 1,290 days; for what reason or proportion or analogy for constructing such a metaphor can be thought of? Nay rather, as I have often said, that way of explaining times by months, and the number of months by the number of days, excludes all metaphor of this sort and shows that the sense is proper.
spacer 10. Fourth, if those three years and a half, which are foretold about the advent and duration of Antichrist, signified that half a spiritual week was in that way understood, they would at any rate not exceed half the time that intercedes between the first and second coming of Christ; but according to the opinion of the king, antichristianism began in the year of Christ 606, and so it has already lasted 1, 007 years and is still going on and will last for God knows how long; therefore it is incredible that that whole time, because of the allegory of half a week, is signified through a space of three years and a half. Next, according to this interpretation all that numbering of times, days, and months, which is done so accurately by John, is useless; because from them nothing certain or probable about the beginning or duration of the time of Antichrist can be conjectured, but each one can make up what beginning and space of time he wishes, and assert that it is half a spiritual week. However, the words of Scripture, although they are sometimes metaphorical, are yet not useless nor pronounced vainly; therefore, when the metaphor is such that it perverts the use, intention, and fruit of a prophecy, it is to be altogether rejected and avoided.
spacer 11. Wherefore also is to be put aside or rejected the doubt of Lyranus whether in those places a day is metaphorically taken for a year. And it is to be established for certain that it is there taken properly and signifies a natural day. But one must note that this can be understood of those places where there is discussion of the 1,290 days of the persecution of Antichrist, or where there is discussion of the forty-five days after his death. For Lyranus is not speaking of the former but of these latter days. Now about the former he does not deny that they will be natural days, which is of very great service for what we intend &c. And therefore that it is certain is briefly shown. For if the days there signified a year, then, when the persecution of Antichrist is said to be going to last for 1,290 days, it will be understood of so many years. How then will the word of Christ be true, Matthew 24:22, “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened?” For how will they be shortened if they are going to be almost as many as hitherto the time of grace has lasted? And for a like reason, that could not stand which John says in Revelation 12:12, “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” And in ch. 20 he says that Satan will be bound for a thousand years and must afterwards be loosed for a little time; but yet a time of 1,200 and more years cannot be said to be little absolutely, nor in comparison with the time that Satan is bound. Therefore it is impossible that there a day is taken for a year but for a true day.
spacer 12. There is confirmation, first, because that number of days is later explained by a number of months, but who would say that a month there signifies thirty years? For never in Scripture is such a metaphor found of months as it is of weeks. There is confirmation, second, because if there be license to explain a day as a year, someone else may take the same to mean a thousand years, because it is written, Psalm 90:4, “A thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past.” And it follows as a result that Antichrist will last for more than a thousand thousand years, which is ridiculous. There is confirmation, finally, from Justin Contra Trypho who for this reason mocks Trypho’s interpretation. For he thought that by time there was to be understood a hundred years: “But if it is so, that wicked man must rule for at least three hundred and fifty years.” Which he sets aside as absurd and ridiculous; in addition to the fact that no probable reason or foundation in Scripture for such signification or metaphor can be brought forward.
spacer 13. From which it is with the same certitude further concluded that also in the case of the last forty-five days the discussion is about natural days. First indeed because it cannot be imagined that in the same computation a day is, with respect to the time of the persecution of Antichrist, taken properly but, with respect to the future time thereafter, it is taken metaphorically for a year, because it is said with one and the same word about each time, or about the whole of it, that it will last 2,035 days; but it would be ridiculous to say that the same noun, put once in the same speech, signifies part of the time properly and part of it metaphorically. Second because the reasons given proceed also of the days, and especially because Christ said Matthew 24:29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened;” therefore between the time of Antichrist and the beginning of the signs of the judgment there will not intervene 45,000 years, nay nor forty-five, because what happens after forty-five years does not happen immediately. Finally the metaphor of Lyranus does not, as he himself thinks, have a foundation in Scripture. For he cannot show from the Scriptures that a day sometimes metaphorically signifies a year. For in the place that he adduces, Ezekiel 4, where it is said, v. 6, “I have appointed thee each day for a year,” day does not metaphorically signify a year, but each word is taken in its proper sense; and a year is said to be computed for a day because for as many days as Ezekiel was going to sleep bound and restrained on his left or right side, for that many years Israel and Judah were going to be captives. As Jerome and all expound, just as when it is said, “A thousand years in thy sight” are as days, a day is taken properly for a natural day, but a thousand years are compared with a natural day, nay with a moment, in respect of divine eternity.
spacer 14. To the second part of the objection, I say in the first place generally that the whole of that objection does not proceed against the chief dogma that we are teaching, namely that the persecution of Antichrist will last a brief time, and that the testimonies of Daniel and John, that speak about that time, are to be understood properly and to the letter. For at most the objection proceeds against the last part about the forty-five days interposed from the death of Antichrist to the Day of Judgment. For if we said that those forty-five days are not precisely defined such that, when they are consumed, the Day of Judgment would be certain, the objection will altogether cease, even if the rest about the three years and a half, within which alone the persecution of Antichrist will last, are most certain and persistently maintained. Because if after the day of Antichrist it is not certain that the judgment will happen when the forty-five days are finished, it will never be foreknown from the death of Antichrist when the day or hour of judgment will be; therefore the objection ceases. But the part about the forty-five days, after which will be the judgment, is not a dogma of faith, nor is it necessary to contend stubbornly about it, and therefore the whole objection does not matter much for the cause. Provided it not be denied that those forty-five days too are to be understood properly, both as to the number and as to natural days; for this is necessarily conjoined with the other definite opinion about the brief time of Antichrist, as has been made clear. Because, this notwithstanding, many Catholics think that from Scripture can indeed be gathered that after the death of Antichrist the Day of Judgment will not come for forty-five days, but that nevertheless it cannot thence be gathered that, when those days are finished, it will immediately be; and this is enough for it to be uncertain, and consequently for the objection to cease.
spacer 15. But we can add that it is indeed true that Scripture does not say plainly that immediately after those forty-five days the judgment will be, yet it insinuates it and it is sufficiently gathered therefrom, as I showed above. But this is not enough for the Day of Judgment to be certainly foreknown, but only that it be with great probability conjectured, which is no inconvenience, because it is not repugnant to the testimonies adduced, since in them the discussion is about certain advance cognizance and foreknowledge. Next, we add that even if the conjecture about the forty-five days be uncertain, nevertheless once the death of Antichrist has, after sufficient knowledge of his person, been seen, it can be certain for those who know the Scriptures that the Day of Judgment is near and not long distant, even if the day and hour are not certainly known. But that not only is not repugnant to the words of Christ but rather is contained in them, since he himself said, Matthew 24:29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened &c.” But that “immediately” will be directly after the death of Antichrist, as has been shown from the Scriptures; therefore those who know the Scriptures will evidently understand that the Day of Judgment is very near, for that ‘immediately’ clearly indicates this nearness. Hence the same Lord subjoins, vv. 32 - 33, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when his branch is yet tender and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh; so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” Therefore such pre-cognizance of the Day of Judgment, or certain cognizance as to its nearness and not as a definite day, or a probable and conjectural cognizance as to the day itself, is not repugnant to, but rather very much consonant with, the Scriptures. Nor do the testimonies adduced prove anything against this, as will be readily clear by running through them one by one.
spacer16. To the place of Matthew 24, I reply that Christ’s first words, v. 36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man,” are understood of certain and infallible foreknowledge, not of probable conjecture. I say, in addition, that conjecture cannot be had save from what is revealed, because the determination of that day depends on the will of God, which cannot be known except from the effects or signs revealed. But on the basis of revelation of the signs preceding the Day of Judgment, from them can the time of that day be conjectured, with indeed greater or lesser probability, according to the mode of the revelation and the signs. And these conjectures were often used by the holy Fathers for making some judgment about the approach of the Day of Judgment; nay, that for this end were those signs revealed by God is clearly gathered from the mentioned words of Christ. But as to the rest of the words, wherewith the Lord teaches that the last hour of the Day of Judgment will suddenly seize upon men, I reply that the same objection can be made against Christ’s words, “know that it is near, even at the doors;” for this foreknowledge can be enough that the Day of Judgment not suddenly seize on those who have believed the words of Christ, and have observed, and have wished to observe, the event of them.
spacer 17. I say, therefore, to begin with, that those will be very rare who have the aforesaid prophecies in close examination and understand and recognize them. And therefore although some few who understand and are wise in faith could from that anticipation be ready for the advent of the Lord, this does not prevent almost the whole world from thinking of nothing less than of its end, and thus the advent of Christ will suddenly seize almost the whole world. Which is rightly made clear by the example of the flood that Christ uses; for there were some men then who the rains did not suddenly seize upon, namely Noah and his family; and nevertheless Christ said absolutely that the flood came and found men unprepared and overwhelmed them all; thus therefore will it be in the case of his coming to judgment. Another simile can be taken from the time of the first coming of Christ, for it simply came suddenly with respect to the world, although a few wise could understand that his advent was near at hand.
spacer 18. Next I note that the uncertainty of the Day of Judgment can be considered either with respect to us and everyone who will be before Antichrist is revealed and his persecution begun, or with respect to those who will be at the time at which the persecution of Antichrist will already be advancing but who have not yet seen its end, or with respect to those who will be alive after the death of Antichrist and before the proximate signs of judgment will begin, namely ‘the sun will be darkened’ and the like, or with respect to those who have already seen such signs afar off. In the first times, then, the Day of Judgment is altogether uncertain, nay scarcely by conjecture can anything be judged about its delay or nearness, as Augustine, epist. 80, shows extensively, and as is sufficiently known by experience in the case of the Fathers, who reckoned a thousand years ago that the Day of Judgment was near. Neither is there controversy on this point. About the second time we say that the wise indeed who are then considering things with great faith and understanding and attention can conjecture that the Day of Judgment is not far absent, because they will certainly believe that the tribulation will be short, and that, when it is finished, the signs of judgment will immediately begin, for both have been foretold by Christ. Hence Gregory, Moralia XXXIV.10 at the end, elsewhere 15, says: “When the Day of Judgment is approaching, by voices preceding or certain signs bursting forth, the virtue itself of the coming Lord will already be shining in some way upon them.” Yet the conjecture will be confused as to the definite time, and rare with respect to the whole world, and uncertain with respect to many, because since there will, on the evidence of Christ himself, be many tribulations and many antichrists, it will be very difficult to understand whether the tribulation is the last and greatest and whether he is the Antichrist proper.
spacer 19. But the king says, “But the Papists say that the world will not be ignorant that he is Antichrist, by the teaching of the two witnesses.” I reply that the two witnesses will preach for a short time, and perhaps in few places and provinces of the world; and so it will not be enough for the whole world to know that he is Antichrist. Nay, even where they will be preaching many will be incredulous, just as they were in the days of Noah, or just as the Jews were when John gave testimony to Christ; and therefore although some believe and can make a certain conjecture about the approaching judgment, it will not be unfitting, because everyone else, and the world simply speaking, will think no such thing. Hence Ambrose on 1 Thessalonians 5, at the beginning, seems to have understood about that day many things from the said testimonies, “The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief;” and “Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” And this, “If they shall say unto you, Behold, here is Christ, or behold there, believe it not. For suddenly,” he says, “and unexpectedly he will appear, as the lightning will appear from the east to the west, having with him the soldiers of the army of God the Father for the destruction of Antichrist and of his followers. For as the faithless were secure about the reign of the devil after the saints were killed, that is, Enoch and Elijah, and rejoiced in victory, sending gifts one to another, as Revelation 11:10 said, then upon them will suddenly come swift destruction.” In which words he says that the sudden advent of Christ begins before the death of Antichrist and for the killing of him, and then will it be very sudden for the unbelieving; for a few believers could now be expecting him, although even they would be uncertain even about the day and the hour.
spacer 20. However, in the third time after the death of Antichrist and before the signs of judgment, there could be some greater conjecture of the approaching judgment, yet that too will be among few. For, to begin with, the time will be very brief between the death of Antichrist and the signs of judgment, as is often proved from the words of Christ the Lord saying, Matthew 24:29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened &c.” Next, in so brief a time the death of Antichrist could not be made know to the whole world, nor to a great part of it, because Christ when descending to kill Antichrist will not be revealed to the whole world, but will appear only in that part where Antichrist will be present, and from there his death must be disseminated by report or letters through a course of time, insofar as it can in a human manner be done. Therefore in the meantime the world will be no more worried about the Day of Judgment than if Antichrist was not dead. Next, among those too who know Antichrist and have seen or believed his death, there will be very few who will have read or understood the prophecies about the time of the coming of Christ to judgment after the killing of Antichrist. Nay even those who have understood them will never be sufficiently certain about the sense of them until they see them fulfilled; and therefore, although they could probably believe that the judgment will be after so many days, yet they will not know that day for certain. And thus nothing follows against the testimonies of Scripture about the uncertainty of the Day of Judgment, even if it be understood strictly about all time and all persons. And for the reason most of all that it is even not certain whether those forty -five days will come to an end on the very Day of Judgment or on the day when the death of all men will be completed; after which day it is not revealed whether at once or after some days will be the universal resurrection and judgment. And thus the day and hour of judgment will always remain uncertain.
spacer 21. However, about the last time after the signs of judgment have begun, of which Christ says, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened &c.,” it is from the same Gospel clear that it will be known to all the faithful that the end of the world and the Day of Judgment are very near, since Christ says, “when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” But infidels, since they are altogether ignorant or do not believe such signs and the end or signification of them, will indeed be afraid and tremble, but will understand or think nothing about the future event. Yet, nevertheless, with respect to all of them will always be true what Christ next subjoins, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man,” because infidels will be thoroughly ignorant of it, while the faithful, even the wise, although they may know it is near, yet do not foreknow definitely that it will be on such day at such hour; because they will not know that day destined for the universal death of all men, and the other determined for the resurrection, and the other foreordained for judgment; nay, they will even be ignorant whether they will be distinct days and how far they will be from each other. In addition too they will not know for how long a time those signs will last that precede the judgment after the death of Antichrist, because the wiser faithful, although they might conjecture that they will not last beyond forty-five days, nevertheless do not know whether they will or will not occupy all those days; and as a result they will not know on which day the world will be consumed in flames, and so about the other things that will be up to the Day of Judgment. And in this way all the words of Christ are true to the letter and in all strictness and propriety, even if the words of John are understood in their proper and strict sense as well, which point will be made clearer in the following testimonies.
spacer 22. To the second testimony taken from the parable about the virgins in Matthew 25, the response is that everything indeed that is said therein could be accommodated to the private judgment of each person; the day and hour of that too is uncertain for men, and with that judgment the conclusion of the whole parable squares very well, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour.” But this ignorance of the day and hour of death does not take away the possibility of there being, before its happening, and consequently before the moment of particular judgment, a presentiment of death, and a conjecture that the judgment is near, although about the day and the hour a certain and definite knowledge does not appear nor is conceived. And thus in the same parable two things that will happen unexpectedly before this judgment must be distinguished. One is that the arrival of the bridegroom is first announced; the other is the bridegroom himself coming after. The first is contained in the words, v. 6, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him;” the other is there subjoined, v. 10, “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him &c.” From which we understand that the announcement of the coming of judgment is more sudden than will be the coming of it; for the first finds all the virgins slumbering or sleeping, that is, thinking nothing of the approaching judgment; but the coming of the bridegroom finds the prudent prepared and waiting for him with lamps lit, and so, although they did not know the day or hour of each, namely of the announcement and of the coming, yet the coming of the bridegroom was not for them as unexpected as the announcement of it proper. Hence, in the particular judgment, those two can be in such wise distinguished that the moment of death is the same as the advent of judgment, but the dispositions proximately preceding death will announce the advent of judgment, as illnesses and other frequent dangers of death. And thus Gregory said in Homil. 13 on the Gospels, “The Lord comes when he hastens to judgment; but he knocks when he indicates death is now near by the troubles of illness.” And this interpretation is followed by Origen in Homil. 22 on Matthew, and St. Thomas takes it there very literally, nor does it displease Augustine, epist. 80. Hence if we follow it, nothing from that parable can contribute to the present matter, because the reign of Antichrist will not be before the private judgment but the universal. But if we wish to speak about the particular judgment of the men who will be after the death of Antichrist, they too will not know the day and hour of their death, and consequently also of their own particular judgment; but they could have a presentiment through the signs and announcements of the approaching end of the world that it is not far distant.
spacer 23. Hence we say further that, although this sense is probable, it is not to be so taken that we deny that the parable can also be understood of the universal judgment, without prejudice to the things that we have said about the time of Antichrist. For in two ways can those words be expounded:, “And at midnight there was a cry made.” First, that by that cry we understand the trumpet and great voice wherewith the angels will call for gathering the elect, as Christ said in Matthew 24:31, as is expounded by Jerome, Chrysostom, and others on Matthew 25, and Augustine epist. 120, ch. 34. But the exposition and the equivalence are difficult; for the trumpet and the voice of the angels precede the judge who is coming now after the death of all men, and will call them to rise again to life and to come to judgment, according to the verse of Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:52, “For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible.” However, the cry that is said to go before in the parable of the virgins will be before the death of men, when they could still be made ready and disposed for receiving the bridegroom, as the prudent virgins did; therefore by this cry can the voice of the angels not be signified.
spacer 24. Now Augustine replies that the cry too, which is talked of in the parable of the virgins, will be after the death of all men, which is there signified by sleep in the words, v. 5, “They all slumbered and slept,” and as a result he says that the cry is not so that men may be made ready for receiving the light of justice anew, but for being resurrected. But then will the prudent virgins trim their lamps, preparing themselves through recognition of their good works for giving account. And according to this exposition too nothing from that parable can be taken for the present controversy; for after the universal death of all men it will be certain that the day and hour of resurrection and of the coming of judgment is near at hand, yet always will what is future be unknown until the voice of the trumpet is heard, unless perhaps blessed souls may see it now in the Word, which is not repugnant to the words of Christ, though it be uncertain.
spacer 25. There can, however, be another exposition, that the cry is not the voice of the trumpet but is the preaching of Enoch and Elijah and of other servants of God who will live at that time; or they may even be the signs of judgment that will precede, as “the sun will be darkened” &c., for they will cry in their own way that the day of the Lord is approaching. And in this way too in that coming will the two things said above have to be distinguished; one is the previous announcement of the coming of judgment, which will not only be before unknown but even unexpected and sudden, because before it there will not be any other public urging or premonition besides the general ones that have already been sufficiently made in Scripture. The other is the coming of the judge, and this will not be so sudden that the preparation and expectation of it could not precede, yet always the day and hour of it will be definitely unknown until it come. And in this way is this uncertainty explained by Oecumenius ch. 6 on 1 Thessalonians 5, when he says that the signs of the approaching advent can be certainly known, but not so the advent itself.
spacer 26. To the third testimony from Acts 1, first I reply that by the words, v. 7, “It is not for you to know the times and seasons,” is at most excluded a certain foreknowledge of the definite day and hour of the second coming of the Lord, as is noted by Cyprian, Ad Quirin. III.89. Next I say that Christ wanted to reprehend curious investigation and useless desire to know the future, especially things that depend on divine power and predetermination, as is noted by Justin q. 112 Ad Gentes. But Augustine in epist.78 adds that by those words is also excluded some number of years within which or after which the second coming of the Lord will immediately be, because this too is properly signified by the word “times,” and therefore it can fall into no man’s knowledge how many years later the judgment will be. Which he so confirms that he says that, although from the words of Christ in Matthew 24 it be gathered that the judgment will not be until the gospel is first preached in all the world, when the Lord says, v. 14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come;” nevertheless, even when that sign is completed, never can the times be known (that is, the number of years) which remain to the Day of Judgment. Wherein he signifies two things: one is that the words of Christ, “it is not for you to know &c.” exclude not only knowledge through the stars or other human signs, but also signs revealed through the prophets. The other is that they were said by Christ not only for those disciples alone who then were and were questioning him, but also for all men who will be in any time whatever. Which he hands on more at large in epist. 80.
spacer 27. Hence, indeed, can be taken an objection against what has been said. For it hence seems to be that it can never be certain how many years will be left until the Day of Judgment; but this seems repugnant to what we said about the three years and a half of the persecution of Antichrist. I reply, to begin with, that it is indeed true that the words of Christ not only pertain to the disciples who heard Christ but also to all of us; for the inordinate desire of everyone to foreknow future things that depend on the disposition of God is restrained by Christ, and he taught that it does not pertain to men to investigate them, nor to want to know them, except insofar as God has wished to reveal them. From which also is rightly inferred that the times of the coming of the Lord are uncertain for us, because nothing of the number of years of the duration of the world has been revealed to us. And this is what Augustine is principally handling and intending in those places. But under the coming of the Lord he also includes the signs proximate to his coming, and among them he sometimes puts the persecution of Antichrist, as in bk.18 De Civitate Dei ch.53, after he has said: “To be sure that very last persecution, which will be by Antichrist, Jesus himself will extinguish with his presence &c.” he subjoins, “Here it is wont to be asked, when will that be? Very inopportunely.” And at once he adduces the words of Christ: “It is not for you to know the times &c.” And in the said epist .80 he says that Paul handed on to us that, “Antichrist will be manifest and is to be killed by the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ. But after how much time this will be,” he says, “is not as much as obscurely said.” Therefore Augustine contends that the times up to Antichrist are unknown, but that after Antichrist is made manifest Augustine does not deny that by those who have recognized him and have understood and considered the Scriptures it can be known for how short a time then the world will still endure.
spacer 28. Hence, what in the same epist. 80 he a little later subjoins.. “But that from the signs in the Gospels and the Prophets that we see happening daily we ought to hope that the coming of the Lord is near, who may doubt? Indeed daily it comes closer and closer. But by how great an interval it is close this it is said is not for you to know,” this, I say, is I think to be understood of the remote signs of the second coming of the Lord, not of the proximate ones, of which he says later. “I think that they will not be, when they will be, such as those signs foretold in the Gospel in the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the oppressions in the lands of the nations,” which he himself interprets allegorically of the persecution of the Church in the time of Antichrist. Therefore at that time the wise among the faithful could foreknow the shortness of the time remaining up to the judgment. Nor will they be acting against the word of Christ, “it is not for you to know the times,” because they will not inquire after that knowledge by human conjectures or natural signs or singular revelation or inordinate curiosity, but they will through revelation given in Scripture see fulfilled what was foretold. For just as in his first coming God gave certain signs whereby it could by the wise be known that it was already being done, or was a short time distant, before it happened, and after a definite number of years, at any rate through the weeks of Daniel, although always the day and hour were unknown, so should it, with proportion, be understood in the second.
spacer 29. To the fourth from the words of Peter, “Be sober,” I reply, to begin with, that Peter is not there dealing with the uncertainty of death or of judgment, but of the sure and daily persecution of the demon whereby he tries to draw men to sin, 1 Peter 5:8, “he walketh about, seeking whom he may devour;” for this cause Peter adduced for warning us to be sober and be vigilant. And for this purpose are those words everywhere alleged by the Fathers, and the thing is so clear that proof is superfluous. Hence although there might to someone be revealed the hour of death and judgment, nevertheless the advice of Peter would be necessary for him, nay, if he were wise, the more certainly he would know the day of judgment was approaching, the more vigilant and sober would he be, lest he be overcome by the demon. But I add further that, although that advice was given by Peter because of the uncertainty of death and judgment, it is for us no obstacle; for although Christ the Lord sometimes warns us to watch lest we enter into temptation, Matthew 26:41, elsewhere he often advises a like vigilance because of the uncertainty of death, as in the parable of the virgins, and frequently elsewhere. Hence, just as we said about the said parable, that that uncertainly is not only not removed from us but not either from the men who will be at the time of the antichristian persecution, so should it be said of these words of Peter, even if they had been said in that sense, because men were always uncertain about the day of their own death and judgment.
spacer 30. To the other testimonies that contain the opinion and the comparison that “the day of the Lord will come as a thief,” I say in the first place that it is to be referred, not only to the universal judgment, but also to the day of death and private judgment of each one, as is wisely taught by Augustine in the said epist. 80. Where also he thus expounds the words of Mark 13 where, after a long sermon about the day of universal judgment, Christ concludes, v. 35 - 36, “Watch ye therefore, for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.” And he proves very well that those words are said to all of us, as Christ subjoins, v. 37, “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” Now the Day of Universal Judgment will not find us and all men in this life, so that because of its uncertainty we should all watch; therefore is this said to each one because of his own private judgment, lest it come to him as a thief. “Because each one,” says Augustine, “ought also to fear about the very last day of this life of his.” But why Christ gave this warning, when he had given a sermon about the Universal Judgment, is with this reason and words expounded by Augustine, “For where his own very last day will find each one, there the very last day of the world will overtake him, since of what sort each one is on the day he dies, of that sort will he be judged on that day.” And later: “At that time, then, will that day come to each one,” namely the day of Universal Judgment, “when the day comes to him on which he must depart hence such as he must be judged to be on that day.” Hence is it rightly gathered that to such extent does the Day of Judgment come as a thief to each one as the day of death comes as a thief to him; for as Augustine also says: “That day will find him unprepared whom the last day of his life will find unprepared.” And in the same way is that comparison about the private judgment explained by Oecumenius on 1 Thessalonians 5.
spacer 31. Now death is not said to come as a thief because it is sudden for everyone; for although the day and hour of it is uncertain, ordinarily it is foreknown to be at hand; and signs precede, not only general ones, but also special ones, which can stir us up to watch, lest death come at night as a thief, that is, when we are asleep and unprepared; yet, because even the special signs of death themselves are wont to happen suddenly, and then scarcely can a man prepare himself for death, therefore death, as conjoined to its own previous precursors, is said to come as a thief. Hence, therefore, even the Day of Universal Judgment is said to be going to come as a thief, to us indeed by the medium of our own particular judgment, as Augustine expounded, but to them who live in those last times because that day will with its proximate signs begin suddenly, as with Ambrose we said above. Yet, nevertheless, that day will not be so sudden but that the men who then live are by antecedent signs to be stirred up to watch and prepare themselves so that it not find them unprepared. Hence Paul in the same place of 1 Thessalonians 5, as Oecumenius on the same place notes, made this clear by the example of a pregnant woman, when he says, v. 3, “then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” For childbirth considered in itself is not altogether sudden, for pains precede that are signs of its approach, yet those pains themselves come suddenly, and therefore one must be prepared beforehand, otherwise great danger impends; and thus childbirth conjoined with its pains can be said to come as a thief, because the day and hour of it are always uncertain, and its pains begin suddenly; thus therefore must it be understood of the Day of Judgment.
spacer 32. Finally Augustine adds. epist. 80, that the day of the Lord will not come as a thief “to all,” but “to the unprepared and sleeping.” Which he excellently gathers from the words of Paul, vv. 4 - 6, “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day; we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” Therefore to the sleeping and to those who use the things of this world intemperately will that day come as a thief, but not to the watching and those who are preparing themselves. Because although they are ignorant of the time, day, and hour of that judgment, yet they are not ignorant that it is near at hand, either in itself or in the particular judgment of each one, and therefore do they watch lest that day overtake them as a thief. Hence what in the same place Paul says, v. 3, “When they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them,” is understood by Augustine also of the time when the persecution of Antichrist will be advancing, and the proximate signs of the Universal Judgment will begin, and he says that those who will be troubling the saints will say “peace and safety,” and to them will sudden destruction come as a thief; but those who are suffering persecution, that is, the sons of the Church, are to be in part afflicted with great fear (according to that verse, Luke 21:26: “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth;” which will most happen to the faithful who are sinners, who will find that they are at that time less prepared), in part to be raised by hope, according to the verse, v.28: “look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh,” which will happen to those who have lived in a holy way, and have been found sober and vigilant.
spacer 33. Now all these things so understood can be very well fulfilled even if the time at which Antichrist is going to persecute the Church, and which will intervene between his death and the coming of the Lord, be certain and definite and revealed in the Scriptures. For, this notwithstanding, bad men and persecutors of the Church will say “p and safety,” at least in the whole time before the death of Antichrist, at which time sudden destruction will come upon them, and the day of the Lord like a thief, and still after the day of the killing of Antichrist a multitude of infidels will remain in their ignorance and thoughtlessness, and many too of the believers will be ignorant of the mystery and will, living badly beforehand, continue in the same custom until the signs of judgment will begin, and then they will greatly fear; and although they will not realize the certain day of their own death or coming judgment, they will against their will understand that the day of the Lord is at hand, when they can scarcely prepare themselves for him, and therefore will the day of the Lord come also upon them as a thief. But to the elect and just it will not so come, because, understanding the words of Christ and the prophets, and having them before their eyes, and stirred up and aided by divine grace, they will, rejoicing in hope, expect their judge.



1. Antichrist has not yet come. spacer2. A difficulty about the beginning of the reign of Antichrist. spacer3. First response: the reign of Antichrist will last only three years and a half.spacer 4. Disproof of this response.spacer 5. The time of the reign of Antichrist is not determinately known. The time of the kingdom will be longer than of the persecution. spacer6. Proof from Daniel and Revelation. spacer7. Again from Daniel. spacer8. The time of the persecution is certain, of the monarchy uncertain.spacer 9. The time of the reign of Antichrist does not exceed the life of a man. spacer10. An instance from heretics. spacer11. Response. Scripture speaks of Antichrist as of only one man. Heretics falsely think that the throne of Antichrist has already begun. spacer12. The future reign of Antichrist will be shorter than his life. Antichrist will obtain the kingdom by fraud, not by inheritance.spacer 13. Antichrist, as he is first on his throne, thus will he be the last. spacer14 - 15. The signs of the coming of Antichrist have not yet been fulfilled. The Roman Empire must at that time be overthrown. The manner of its overthrow is uncertain. spacer16 - 17. Confirmation from the Fathers.

RΟM things we have disputed of in the preceding chapters is only concluded that the persecution of Antichrist has neither passed nor been begun; for if it had passed the world would already have been judged; and if it had begun, the world must be ended within a brief time; which is incredible, because neither is any persecution now more bitter than it was in past times, nor has the daily sacrifice ceased to be publicly celebrated in the Church; and the other signs going to precede the Day of Judgment that have been predicted are partly not complete and have partly not yet begun to appear, and they require a longer time for their fulfillment, as the completion of the preaching of the Gospel in the whole world, the division of the Roman Empire into ten kingdoms and its total destruction, and other like things, which cannot be expected within the time of four years. Hence all the wars, heresies, and other ills of the world that we are hitherto suffering and that our forebears experienced, pertain to those things of which Christ said in Matthew 24:5 - 11, “ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars; many shall come in my name; and shall deceive many; many false prophets shall arise; many shall be offended; they shall deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you &c.” And nevertheless he subjoins: “see that ye be not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” For we see all these things and they are now and were once in the Church, and for a long time with the same vicissitude of things. Therefore the state itself of human things and of the Church conjoined with the prophecies shows evidently that the end of the world is not so near that it is, within the fixed and shortened time of the last tribulation, to be consummated; therefore it is manifest that the time of the persecution of Antichrist has not yet begun.
spacer 2. Βut there remains the difficulty that it has not, from this principle, been shown that Antichrist has not yet come and begun to reign; because his kingdom is going to last longer, and it is not clear how long it will last nor how long before the Day of Judgment it will begin. For the reason most of all that it is not even revealed whether the antichristian kingdom will be only of one man and king or of several succeeding each other on the same throne. For although it has been shown that Antichrist proper will be only one individual man, it is yet not thence necessarily concluded that there will be a single king in his kingdom or on his throne; for he could be one of many succeeding each other and reigning on the same throne, and from him will it be named the kingdom of Antichrist; and thus it could happen that the throne of Antichrist or the kingdom of Antichrist has begun and is prevailing in the world, although there is not yet seated in it the one and proper Antichrist. However, if all this is conceded, the argument against the heretics will be weakened, at least as to the part where they contend that the kingdom and throne of Antichrist has already begun.
spacer 3. This difficulty can be confronted in two ways; one is by asserting that, not only the persecution, but also absolutely and simply the kingdom and empire of Antichrist will last only for the said time of three years and a half. There can also be a foundation for the response, because many of the Fathers mentioned seem thus to speak and think. For Irenaeus and Hippolytus say absolutely that Antichrist will reign for three years and a half. Augustine also says that Antichrist’s most savage reign will last for a little time. In almost the same way does Victorinus also speak and many others, especially of the moderns, as Bellarmine De Romano Pontifice ΙΙΙ.3, and Ribera on ch. 8 of Revelation. It can also be deduced from Scripture, that it speaks indifferently of Antichrist and attributes to him only three years and some months for ruling, nor does it distinguish between his kingdom and his persecution; therefore neither can we distinguish them, nor do we have a foundation for attributing more time to his ruling than to his warring against Christ. Especially because Scripture says that the demon will communicate all his virtue and power to him; but the demon does not need many intervals of time for warring down the kingdoms of men, if he is permitted by God, but he will at that time be permitted to act freely, because of which he is said “to be loosed a little season,” Revelation 20:3, and in 12:12 it is said: “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” Therefore there is no reason that the reign of Antichrist, which will be as it were the kingdom of the devil, should be thought to last longer.
spacer 4. Nevertheless this response cannot satisfy for, as I touched on in vol. II p. 3 disp. 54 sect.5, although it can rightly of the monarchy of Antichrist be truly declared that it will last only for the time of forty-two months, namely from the time when, with the three kings extinct and the other seven or the remaining kings of the whole Roman world or even Christian kings overcome, he begins to dominate alone, nevertheless it is necessary that the time of his life and of his kingdom will last longer. And about the time indeed of his life, it is per se manifest that he will be born an infant in the manner of other men, and will grow little by little, and will over many years come to adult age before he is going to reign. Most of all because, as I will say below, he will not have the kingdom by hereditary right but will usurp it by tyranny and fraud, which he could not do except in adult age.
spacergreen 5. Now the time of the kingdom is more expressly than by others touched on by Benedict Pereira, Book XV on Daniel, not far from the middle, § “Caeterum” &c., and he says that, although the time during which the persecution of Antichrist is to last is clear from Scripture, nevertheless he says, “how long Antichrist simply will rule is delivered by no one to the extent I know, and I think it has been ascertained by no one among mortals.” And at once he tacitly explains the Fathers just mentioned, that they are speaking about the duration of Antichrist from the time at which “he will violently and cruelly pursue the saints and will prevail over them.” And this seems to have been the opinion of Lyranus on Daniel 12, for about the words, v. 11:, “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up &c.” he says: “Here the angel instructs Daniel about the limit from which the three years and a half are to be counted.” And later: “From then are to be counted the 1,290 days.” Hence he later concludes that, “the three years of the persecution of Antichrist are not to be computed from the time when he begins to show himself and to draw some to himself, but from the time when he will already be of such great power that he will display himself to men for worship, and when the faithful will not dare publicly to celebrate the sacrifice.” And to be sure, if the words of some Fathers are carefully weighed, they do not signify more. For Lactantius says: “It will be given to him to ravage the world for forty-two months.” Ephrem indeed says: “After three times and a half have been fulfilled of the power and wicked working of Antichrist &c.” And likewise Jerome on Daniel 7: “For three years and six months are the saints to be permitted to the power of Antichrist.” Again Augustine, De Civitate Dei II.8 only said, “The time for which Satan is to be loosed will be three years and a half,” and ch. 23 he says that, not the kingdom absolutely, but the “very savage kingdom” of Antichrist will last “a little time.”
spacer 6. Next, from the Scripture itself this opinion seems sufficiently proved, first because Daniel ch. 12 expressly designates the beginning of that time of 1,290 days, namely “from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up.” But it is not likely that that very time will be the beginning of the kingdom and of the battles of Antichrist; because a bitterness of persecution so great that it compels Christians to abstain from public sacrifice, and the enormous audacity of setting in the temple as though God, which is the abomination of desolation, supposes great power and a kingdom sufficiently proud and full; therefore the duration of the kingdom of Antichrist cannot be enclosed within that brief duration. The order of the narration is also in concordance with John in Revelation 13, where he first says, v. 1, “I saw a beast rise up out of the sea,” which almost all understand to be Antichrist, and he subjoins, v. 2, “and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” And later, v. 3, “and all the world wondered after the beast,” namely because of his victories and marvelous signs; all which things will precede the persecution. For afterwards is added, v. 5, “and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.”
spacergreen 7. Next, the same is confirmed by the narration in Daniel ch.7, where, after the vision of the fourth beast having ten horns, he thus describes the beginning of the reign of Antichrist, v. 8, “and behold there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots; and behold in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.” And later he adds, v. 20, “whose look was more stout than the others.” And then he subjoins, v. 21, “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints &c.” From which discourse it appears that the horn, before it begins war against the saints, will have a small beginning, and later it will war against three kings and will subjugate them, and thus must it increase so that it become greater than the others, but these things cannot be done in a short time; and yet thereafter will follow the beginning of persecution; therefore it is necessary that the beginning of the reign of Antichrist precede by much time the beginning of his persecution. And accordingly it happens that the time of the whole reign of Antichrist is longer than three years and a half, during which (as Daniel says in the same place, v. 25) the saints “shall be given into his hand,” that is, the hand of Antichrist. Clearly signifying that the brief time will be of persecution only, but the time of ruling will be greater.
spacer 8. Now how much time there will be of the reign of Antichrist simply we find nowhere revealed; and therefore nothing can with certitude be affirmed, except that it will be greater than forty-two months. For neither will the help of the demon be enough for him to effect without delay of time and some years so many battles and war down so many kingdoms, because he will do these things in a human way, although it is credible that through the help of the demon he will achieve it more quickly and more easily. Hence also it happens that the reign of Antichrist must by some years precede his consummate and perfect monarchy, because not in a moment but in course of time will he attain it, and therefore it will be coming to be before it is perfect. Now the reign will begin at the same time as he will by tyranny have seized some dominion, and will begin to obtain supreme force and jurisdiction over other provinces. And in this way it is probable that the consummate monarchy will last only for that brief time of forty-two months, because he will get possession of all kingdoms at the same time as he begins the persecution. But this is not as certain, because even after perfect possession of monarchy it could be that he does not begin the persecution at once, and therefore only about the persecution is it certain that it will last for only those months. Now about the monarchy it is probable but uncertain, while about the kingdom simply it is certain, that it will last longer.
spacergreen 9. But to confront the difficulty touched on at the beginning, we think it must be added that, although we cannot define the definite length of the duration of that kingdom, nevertheless one must believe that the time will not be more lasting or longer than could be, and than is regularly wont to be, the live of one man, namely seventy or eighty years. And in Antichrist it is credible that the time of his duration will be much shorter, because he is not to be permitted to live the whole time that he naturally could, but he will be divinely killed, or sent alive into hell, perhaps in the middle of his days, because, Matthew 24:22, “for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” Therefore we can rightly conjecture that the beginning of the whole life of Antichrist will precede the beginning of the persecution scarcely by fifty years, and the beginning of his reign scarcely by thirty, and perhaps it will be briefer. For Alexander the Great subjugated the world in a shorter time, as is taken from Maccabees 1:1; but it is likely that Antichrist will seize all things more quickly because of the help of the demon and of the full license and permission of God, as I already said. But that the whole time of the duration of Antichrist will not be greater than could be the time of one human life is proved from the other principle set down in chapter 2, namely, that Antichrist will be one individual man only, as we will at once more fully explain.
spacer 10. For there remains the instance given above, namely, that this is rightly said and concluded about Antichrist proper that he will be one individual person; and consequently also about this future reign under his personal empire, so to say, there is still not enough proof from what has been said that the empire of Antichrist must be begun by Antichrist himself. For why could it not be begun by his progenitors and ultimately reach him? But if this can so happen, whence will it be clear that his throne and kingdom have not yet come or not yet begun, wherein Antichrist will sit and will thence advance to seize other temporal kingdoms and finally to the persecution of the Church of Christ? It can, therefore, happen that the kingdom has already begun, and that it will last for many hundreds of years; because there is for that kingdom no time predefined in Scripture, nor are there signs given for recognizing its beginning, but only its end. But if this be conceded, the difficulty touched on at the beginning arises, that nothing will have been achieved against the heretics; for they only contend that the throne and kingdom of Antichrist has already come, not some individual person who is Antichrist.
spacer 11. I reply, to begin with, that this escape does not aid the heretics of this time; for they contend that Antichrist proper has already come, and that the particular persecution predicted under him has already begun, and that it has endured for many years up to a thousand or more, and perhaps is going to endure for many years yet. But that this is false is plainly proved from the alleged prophecies, and it will be made more fully so by other circumstances. Besides too, these heretics err because on that lasting antichristian throne, which they fabricate, they do not think that some sole person seated thereon is Antichrist proper; but they say that all who are seated on that throne, for the whole time since, according to their imagination, antichristianism began, are truly and properly Antichrist. On which posit they are unable to explain who among them it is who will for three years and a half persecute the Church with that “great tribulation such as there never was” (Matthew 24.21); or who it is whom Christ “shall consume with the spirit of his mouth” (1 Thessalonians 2.8), for he will not kill all those sitting on that throne, nor many of them, for of one only is it foretold; finally who it is to whom the demon, by God specially loosed and permitted, will communicate his whole virtue and on whom he will confer his power, so that he may do lying signs and prodigies, for these and the like things are not yet happening and they are foretold of one man only. But if they say that he will be the one who will sit last on that throne, who must on it be destroyed and altogether extinguished, certainly Scripture only calls him by antonomasia Antichrist, and only him does it give to us among the sure signs of future judgment; in vain then do the heretics fabricate many others who equally deserve this name, since they cannot in others point to that property of Antichrist. Besides too, willfully and from mere malice do they imagine that already some royal throne exists the last king whereon will be that most proper Antichrist. For what are the signs of such throne? Or where has it been indicated in Scripture? Or why cannot someone willfully say that it is the throne of the kingdom of England? Just as they themselves say that it is the throne of the Apostolic See, and someone else feigns that it is the throne of the Turk, or some other similar one. That thought then is vain.
spacer 12. Nay I add rather that, although it not be so evident from the Scriptures that the whole time of the kingdom and throne that Antichrist will possess will not last longer than the duration of the life of Antichrist, nevertheless it can with great probability be gathered from Scripture that the kingdom will last a less time than the person of the king in the royal state. Which I thus declare because, to begin with, the person of Antichrist will not be born of kings, nor will he be the legitimate heir of some kingdom. Both of these I gather from Daniel 11 where it is thus said, v. 21: “And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom; but he shall come in peaceably [alt. secretly], and obtain the kingdom by flatteries [alt. fraud].” Which words cannot be adapted to some series of men succeeding each other on some throne, but they are foretold of some one individual person; for in a long succession of kings on the same throne, although perhaps the first was vile and entered secretly by fraud, these things could not be asserted of all his successors. Therefore they are all said at once of some one tyrant founder (so to say) or beginner of some kingdom. Besides that that very person will be Antichrist is testified by Jerome thereon against Porphyry (who interpreted the place about Antiochus), when he says: “But ours interpret better and more correctly that at the end of the world this person will become Antichrist, who has to rise up from a little nation, that is, from the people of the Jews, and he will be so low and vile that to him no royal honor will be given, and he will by ambush and fraud obtain the principality.” Now when he says “but ours” he plainly signifies that this was then the agreed opinion of ecclesiastics, which is also followed by Theodoret thereon. It can also be confirmed from Daniel 7 where is said, v. 8:, “and behold there came up among them another little horn,” which all ecclesiastical writers have understood of Antichrist, as Jerome there says. But the horn is called little because he will be vile and of the lowest origin and hence not the heir of any kingdom, nay nor of royal stock, and therefore is he said to be born from “among them”, that is, from among kings, not of kings. Therefore Antichrist will not succeed to any kingdom or throne, but will be the first king on his throne, which he himself will begin, erect, or usurp.
spacer 13. To these I add that Antichrist will not have in his kingdom a successor, because he himself, who will obtain the kingdom by fraud, will grow to greatness through the power of the devil, and will afterwards persecute the saints, and will at length be killed by Christ, and his kingdom will be destroyed. Therefore he will not have a successor in his kingdom, and consequently the kingdom will not last more, nay it will last less, than the king, because they will finish together and Antichrist will begin later to reign than to exist. All which things are gathered from the same places of Scripture. For John in the said ch. 13 is, under the name of the beast, speaking of one and the same man, who will rise from the earth, to whom the devil will give his virtue and his power, through whom he will subjugate the whole earth, and afterwards he will make war on the saints for forty-two months. The same is taken from Daniel 7, where under the image of the little horn is the same Antichrist described, with the same progress in erection of the throne, and in increase of temporal power, and in transition to persecution of the saints and to blasphemies against God and Christ, v.25, “until a time and times and the dividing of time,” at which time both he and his kingdom will be destroyed; and with this are consonant, at least in a mystical sense, the words of Job 18.19: “He shall neither have son nor nephew among his people, nor any remaining in his dwellings.” Which words Gregory, Moralia XIV.11 interpreted by those of 2 Thessalonians 2, and he adds: “Whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the spirit of his mouth. When therefore his iniquity will, with the state of the world, come to an end, his offspring will not be left among his people &c. But none of his offspring remains in the world, because the strict judge will end his iniquities with the end of this world &c. But that these things must be understood of Antichrist is shown when it is added, Job 18:20, ‘They that come after him shall be astonished at his day, as they that went before were affrighted &c.” We conclude, therefore, that the duration of the reign of Antichrist will not be longer than could be the life of one man. Hence it becomes evident that Antichrist has not up to our times yet come, or that his kingdom has begun, not only in his person, which is more evident, but neither in some other or others to whom he could legitimately succeed.
spacer 14. And to confirm this truth can be added two other signs of the time of the coming of Antichrist. One is the preaching of the Gospel through the whole word, which must precede the coming of Antichrist and has not yet been done; the other is the total destruction of the Roman Empire, which must also either precede the coming of Antichrist or is to be completed by his power and victories. But something of these signs I touched on briefly in vol. II p.3 disp. 34 sect.2, and I treated the same things in disp. 56 sects.1 and 2 at length and carefully, and therefore have I in the present thought nothing should about them be added. Only concerning the latter, about the destruction of the Roman Empire, do I note that some learned man rebuked me because I said there that this sign about the overthrow of the Roman Empire is uncertain, and cannot be with sufficient consistency be gathered from Paul’s and other prophecies of Scripture. But if what I said be carefully read, we did not bring the sign itself into doubt, which we said was certain, and clear from the common tradition of the Fathers, which has seemed to us to be also apostolic tradition. About the manner, however, in which it is to be expounded and understood we denied that there was so much evidence, because neither do the tradition and consent of the Fathers equally converge on the manner itself, nor can it be sufficiently defined from prophecies. Which now too we think to be true, and we adjoin a brief exposition.
spacer 15. For it can in various manners be understood that the Roman Empire is to be extinguished before the advent of Antichrist, first because it is to be divided into ten or more kingdoms of the Roman Empire under kings who will take it divided among themselves until Antichrist comes and usurps them all. And this, if nothing is added, is most certain and is clearly gathered from the prophecies, especially of Daniel, and it is the unanimous opinion of the Fathers, as we said there. The second manner adds to the preceding that before the coming of Antichrist the name and dignity of the empire or of the emperor or of the king of Romans will, through those ten kingdoms, be altogether extinguished; and this manner we said is not certain, nor is it sufficiently gathered from prophecies, nor is it affirmed by all the Fathers. Because although in one or more of those kings the name and dignity of the Roman king may continue, it could be that they will through Antichrist overcome it and despoil it. And thus the total destruction of the Roman Empire will not precede Antichrist but be by him completed.
spacer 16. From which opinion and explanation Jerome is certainly not far distant when on Daniel 7 he says, “Let us say that all scholastic writers have handed down that at the consummation of the world, when the kingdom of the Romans is to be destroyed, there will be ten kings, who will divide the Roman world among themselves, and an eleventh little king will rise up, who will overcome three of those ten.” And later, “When these have been killed, the other seven too will bend their necks to the victor.” Which words can be drawn to the aforesaid sense, although in them he does not make clear whether in those ten kings, or in some one of them, the Roman name will remain until it is by Antichrist extinguished. But Cyril , Catechesis 15, although he first says Antichrist will come “when the times of the Roman Empire are fulfilled,” he does not explain whether they must be fulfilled in such wise that it is now altogether extinct, or in such wise that now the time is fulfilled in which it must be made extinct. Hence he later subjoins, “Ten kings of the Romans will together rise up, after whom Antichrist will carry off the power of the Romans.” But Tertullian at Apolog. ch.32 says, “The very great force hanging over the world will be held back by the provision of the Roman Empire.” Whereupon the Scholiast says, “Just as the Babylonians did away with the domination of the Medes, and of the Babylonians the Persians, of the Persians again the Macedonians, of the Macedonians thereafter the Romans, so the empire of the Romans Antichrist, and of Antichrist finally our Lord.” And the same Tertullian Ad Scapulam ch. 2 says of the Roman Empire, “As long as it lasts, so long will the age stand,” because it will stand up to the persecution of Antichrist. Nay, Andreas Caesar on Revelation, ch. 16, says that Antichrist will assume the name and title of the king of the Romans, and that whole principality, now divided into ten kingdoms, he will utterly overthrow. Besides, Lactantius, VII.15, says that the Roman Empire is to be destroyed, but he does not make clear whether altogether before Antichrist or by him, but at ch. 25 he adds “as long as Rome is safe, the judgment will not be.” And Chrysostom homil. 4 on 2 Thessalonians says that the Roman Empire is to be extinguished by Antichrist; and we have adduced many other things from Augustine, Theodoret, and others on the said place, wherewith we have shown that this part is probable, nor do I see that anything has anew been mentioned whereby this latter mode is shown to be improbable but the former altogether certain.
spacer 17. Nay rather I add that it seems at least likely that the temporal kingdom of the Roman Pontiff will last inclusive up to the times of Antichrist, until it is by him destroyed and usurped, as we will see below; and that by this can it be judged sufficiently that it not be thought that the Roman Empire must be altogether extinguished before the coming of Antichrist, but that the tyranny is by him to be brought to completion. Lastly, there can, for greater explanation, be two times of Antichrist distinguished: one of temporal battles wherein he will conquer the ten kings and usurp all things, the other of persecution of the saints and of apostasy from Christ. But that, therefore, before this latter time the Roman Empire is to be altogether taken away, is certain from everything that has been said, and from the other things that I adduced in the said place, and the said author pursues it more copiously. But about the former time I think it very probable that in that very time, and by the battles of Antichrist, the destruction of the Roman Empire will be completed, as the other things prove that I have mentioned; and so are the words of Paul very well understood, 2 Thessalonians 2:7 - 8, “Only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way, and then shall that Wicked be revealed.” Namely by exalting himself, v. 4, “above all that is called God &c.” And easily too are all the sayings of the Fathers made to agree. In this sense, then, we said that it is not certain whether the Roman Empire is altogether to be destroyed before the beginning of the reign and battles of Antichrist, or is to be altogether extinguished by them, which now also we think to be true.



1. Protestants oppose two other arguments about the time of Antichrist. spacer2. Some said that Antichrist already existed in the time of the Apostles, and will come again. spacer3. It was the opinion of some that Nero will come again. spacer4. This opinion has no foundation in Paul. spacer5. That Nero is still living as a mortal is a fable. spacer6. Paul speaks of Antichrist and of Nero as distinct.spacer7. Certain think that some of the heresiarchs were Antichrist. The same is by some affirmed of Mahomet. spacer8. Mahomet was not the true Antichrist. spacer9. Nor is Antichrist on his throne successively. spacer10. Response to the places adduced already at the beginning.spacer 11. The place of John ch. 4 is explained.spacer 12. Heretics object that the deeds of Antichrist could not be finished in a short time. What Paul signified by the name of “falling away.” spacer13. This sort of falling away can signify, first, the overthrow of the Roman Empire. spacer14. Second, Antichrist himself is called a falling away. spacer15. Falling away does not necessarily signify a general apostasy. Apostates do not pollute the Church because they are outside it. spacer16. Third, by the name of falling away is understood apostasy. spacer17 - 18. This apostasy will not be general. Many will then recover the faith. spacer19. This apostasy will be completed in a short time. spacer20. Instance; it is solved. Whether this apostasy will take over the whole world is uncertain.spacer 21. The demon will be the most potent minister of this apostasy.

ESIDES the things that the King of England objects, two others are from Sacred Scripture wont to be opposed by Protestants to what we have said about the times of Antichrist, which, for completion of this point, it has seemed necessary to satisfy. The first is that, although the end of Antichrist will be at the end of the world, it is not necessary that its beginning be put off for so long a time; and consequently it cannot be that its duration be as short as has been by us described. Now for proof of this they introduce three places. The first is that of Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2 touched on above, v. 7, “The mystery of iniquity doth already work &c.” The second is 1 John 2:18: “Antichrist will come [alt. cometh],” where he is speaking of Antichrist proper, as is indicated by the article added in the Greek according to what was said above, and yet he says in the present tense, “he cometh.” Third is the place of 1 John 4 where, speaking in the same way about Antichrist, he says, v. 3: “whereof ye have heard that it [alt. he] should come; and even now already it [alt. he] is in the world.”
spacer 2. But these things have from what was said above an easy solution, but because not only heretics but also some Catholics make trouble for us on this point, we propose them again, so that we may touch on some opinions of Catholics and make satisfaction to them all. Therefore, because of these testimonies, especially of Paul, some of the ancient writers said that the person of Antichrist came in the time of the Apostles; but that he did not then exercise and complete his whole iniquity, but will come again at the end of the world in order to complete his course and fulfill everything that has been written about him. That this was the opinion of the old writers is reported by Jerome and Augustine, the former on Daniel 11, the latter in De Civitate Dei XX.29; it is also followed by Victorinus in his commentary on Revelation about the middle where, expounding ch. 13, he writes thus of Antichrist: “Now that he existed already in the kingdom of the Romans and was among the Caesars is testified by Paul when he says, ‘he who now holds will hold until he be made out of the way.’” Hence he thinks that he who then held the empire, namely Nero, was Antichrist. But he thinks that the same is that Wicked who is afterwards to be revealed. He did not, however, think that he was alive or was going to live until the end of the world, but that he was dead and was going to be resurrected: “not by his own power (he says), nor of his father (that is, carnal father, or by human generation) but raised up by command of God” because of the sins of men, as he later pursues.
spacer 3. Sulpicius Severus too, in Book III of Sacr. Histor. near the middle, reports that in his time “it was received in the opinion of many that Nero was the coming Antichrist,” which he himself neither affirms nor denies, but he only says: “He was deservedly the first who began persecution against Christians; I do not know whether he will also be the last to complete it.” However he says later: “Hence it is believed that, even if he transfixed himself with a sword, he has been preserved, his wound cured, to be sent at the end of the age.” To which opinion he seems to adhere, and according to it he understands of Nero the verse of Revelation ch. 13 about the beast that received a mortal wound which was afterward cured. Hence he thinks that Nero now is not dead but kept in reserve so that he may at the end of the world come to complete the mystery of iniquity. But the same author, in Dialog. 2 De Vita S. Martini at the end, although he affirms that Nero will return at the end of the world and will fight down ten kings and will again rule in the West and renew a bitter persecution against Christians to induce them to worship idols, yet he does not say that he will be Antichrist but rather that at the same time Antichrist is to be raised up in the East, who will advertise himself as Christ and try to turn Christians from Christ, though not to worship idols but himself, and draw them to observe Judaism; and he says that he will fight against Nero and overcome him and subjugate the world, until he is killed by Christ.
spacer 4. This opinion, indeed, although it contains an old wives’ tale, yet does not proceed from heresy, nor does it strictly contain heresy, nor does it deny received tradition or the proper sense of Scripture whereby we have it that Antichrist is one definite person and will come at the end of the world and will last for a short time. But it adds on other things, not indeed contrary to Scripture, but badly founded thereon, and in themselves vain and incredible. For Paul, although he said (according to the more probable and more received exposition) that Nero did in his time work antichristian iniquity (so to say), yet not the same as Antichrist will afterwards work, but in imitation or, as it were, image of him. Hence although he said that Nero was Antichrist, he adds “in mystery” or that he is “the minister of iniquity,” that is, the type of Antichrist, as we explained above. Without foundation, therefore, is it imagined that the person of Nero will be the same as the person of Antichrist; and vainly and contrary to divine custom, nay contrary also to divine goodness, is it thought that Nero now dead is to be raised up by God so that the iniquity, that he had begun in a prior life, he might afterwards bring to completion. For the work of resurrection, which is proper to God, is not done for working iniquity, but for other and more honorable ends worthy of God and in conformity with his divine wisdom and providence. Besides, Scripture never signifies that Antichrist will in a supernatural way be procreated or called back to the world by God, but that he is to be generated in the manner of other men.
spacer 5. Hence no less vain was the thinking of those who said that Nero is now kept in mortal life until he appears again. For this too could not happen without a miracle; but it is foolish to attribute such miracles to God for such ends or causes. Nor is it less frivolous to expound in this way the place of Revelation about the cured wound of the beast, both because it is expounded far otherwise by the Fathers, as was seen above, and also because from the words of ch. 13 it is clearly gathered that both the wound and its cure will be at the time of Antichrist, when the world, wondering after the beast, worships the dragon; and also because it is clear from the histories that Nero cut his own throat and was really killed. For as Gregory of Tours says, Histor. Francor. I.25, “trying to escape the sedition that had been stirred up against him, he killed himself at the fourth milestone from the City with his own hand.” And the same is contained in Paulus Orosius, Book VII Histor. for the year AUC 88, and he adds that in him the whole family of the Caesars came to an end. The same is also reported by Eusebius in Chron. for the year of our Lord 70; in the same way too does Nicephorus speak about the death of Nero, II.27 and bk.4 ch.1, and in profane histories the thing is very well known. Next if (as Sulpicius said in the latter place) Nero will not be Antichrist, why or on what foundation is he imagined to be coming again at the end of the world? These things, therefore, although they are not heretical, must be disdained as fables.
spacer 6. Now the place of Paul has been made sufficiently clear from what was said, that, as I said above, Nero or the whole pagan Roman Empire Paul calls the mystery or type of Antichrist, but he evidently distinguished it from the true Antichrist when he said, 2 Thessalonians 2.6 - 8, “ye know what witholdeth…until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed.” But to the first words from John we reply first that Augustine, De Civitate Dei XX.29 allegorizes those words about the future: “Of whom you have heard, since he is going to come,” whether because he reads thus from the Greek or because thus did he tacitly interpret them. For it is not a new thing in Scripture that the present is taken for the future, as in John 4 the Samaritan woman said, v. 25, “I know that Messiah cometh,” speaking of the present, and yet she immediately declares it by the future, “when he is [will have] come, he will tell us all things.”
spacer 7. However, other Catholics here confront us, that let it be true that Antichrist did not come in the time of the Apostles, yet he is not to be waited for at the end of the world; for that way of speaking indicates a greater nearness; and therefore it is not incredible that Antichrist has already come in Luther or some like heretic. But chiefly can be noted, by the by, the opinion of John Annius who, about Revelation, persuades himself that Mahomet is Antichrist, and some have followed him whom he refers to, and he is followed by Fevardus on Irenaeus V.30. But they rest for support, not on the words of John or Paul, nor on any testimony of Scripture, but on mere conjectures wherewith they accommodate to Mahomet the things foretold about Antichrist.
spacer 8. But I do not judge it necessary either to report or to refute those things, both because Benedict Pereira has diligently presented it in his little book against Annius, which he adjoined to his disputations on Revelation. And also because, although they could find one or the other sign of Antichrist in Mahomet, that is not remarkable, because there is no enemy of Christ who does not participate in some property of Antichrist; for that is why they are by a general appellation all called antichrists, as we saw above. Therefore it is necessary to point to a collection of all the signs of Antichrist in someone for him to be concluded to be the proper and true Antichrist. But this is impossible to point to in Mahomet except by denying many predictions about Antichrist, especially those about the time of his persecution and death, in the proper sense in which they were understood by the Fathers, and by twisting them to metaphorical senses alien to the propriety of the words and to the many circumstances that we have considered in the prophecies themselves; and also those about the brief time during which the persecution of Antichrist will last, and about the prodigy of his death whereby the persecution will end and be followed a little later by the judgment. Add too the things about the defection of the Roman Empire handed on by the Fathers in interpreting the words of Paul, 2 Thessalonians 2:6 - 8: “ye know what witholdeth…, only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed.” For in the year 630, when Mahomet appeared, the Roman Empire was still vigorous under Heraclius, and flourished afterwards too, and endures up to our own times, although it has always been getting smaller.
spacer 9. In addition, all the things we will in the following chapters say about the witnesses to be sent against Antichrist, and about the seat and errors and various descriptions of Antichrist, clearly confound that opinion. And so the authors of it are compelled to refer some things to the person of Mahomet, others to his throne, or his empire, that will endure to the end of the world and will then rage more bitterly against Christians, and so those who think thus agree in many things with Protestants, whether by taking refuge in willful metaphors, or even by not interpreting the things foretold of Antichrist about one and the same person, contrary to the context and certainty of Scripture. And therefore, although this opinion does not contain the impiety of Protestants, it is to be avoided lest they be given a greater occasion for error, and lest by perverse interpretations a thing in itself difficult and obscure be made more involved. Hence rightly does Damascene, in De Haeresib. at the end, call Mahomet a type and precursor of Antichrist, but not the true Antichrist himself. And the same must be understood of Luther and the other heresiarchs that there have hitherto been; for judgment must be made about them from the same principles, so that it is not necessary to delay over them one by one.
spacer 10. To the objection, then, made about the words of John, I deny that the word ‘cometh’ in the present is taken because of the nearness of the fact for the future, but often because of the certainty of the prophecy. Which is very well proved by Ezekiel 39 where to the present is added the past when it is said, v. 8, “Behold it comes and it is done;” and yet the discussion is about the Day of Judgment, as Jerome expounds, which day, both because of the certainty of the prophecy and for exaggeration, so that it may always be thought of as present and already done, is signified by words of the present and of the past. In this way, then, did John speak. Which is made sufficiently clear when he adjoins, 1 John 2:18, “even now are there [have there come to be] many antichrists;” for it was the same as to say that, although one individual Antichrist, both head and exemplar of the rest, is most certainly coming, that is, will come, yet already now in the present time there have come to be many antichrists, that is many ministers and precursors of him, who as they participate his deeds so also his name. When, therefore, John says that they have now come, he makes it sufficiently clear that the other has not yet come but is said to come, because he most certainly will come, because while others are as it were preparing his ways he is already said somehow to come.
spacer 11. And thus too are easily understood the other words of ch. 4. For, to begin with, when, v. 3, “every spirit that confesseth not [alt. removeth] Christ” is said to be “Antichrist,” either it ought to be understood of Antichrist taken generally, because there have been many heretics who remove Jesus, and all the Jews remove him and deny that he is true Messiah and true God, or it must be understood that he is Antichrist, not in person, but in spirit, just as John the Baptist is said to be Elijah, Matthew 12 and Luke 1. Hence in the Greek it reads, “And this is of Antichrist,” namely the spirit of Antichrist, as is read by Cyprian, Ad Quirinum II.8, or “is of the spirit of Antichrist.” And thus is Antichrist rightly put there with the article, because all who remove Jesus, nay all heretics, have the spirit of Antichrist, although they are not he himself in person. And thus agreeably too are expounded the following words, “whereof ye have heard, that he come,” that is, will come, and is already beginning to come through his precursors, through whom he is already in the world according to his spirit and participation in his office and name, and therefore are they called precursors of the spirit of Antichrist rightly by Tertullian, Contra Marcion. V.16.
spacer 12. The second principal objection of heretics is that the things that Antichrist will do and that are foretold of him will, in the brief time prescribed by us, not be able to be completed. And they chiefly stress the words of Paul, 1 Thessalonians 2:3, “except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed &c.” Which falling away (as Calvin said) signifies so universal an apostasy of the whole world from Christ that it needs a succession of years, nay of many tyrants, heretics, or enemies of Christ, because one man’s life or diligence is not sufficient to complete it. Yet that such will the apostasy be, and that it is signified through “falling away” by Paul, is supposed to be certainly, as it were, the opinion of all Pontificialists by the King of England in his Preface, and he proves it by a certain noteworthy reason when he says: “otherwise their Church would be every day liable to errors; which is altogether repugnant to their doctrine.” Next, that the beginning and author of the same apostasy will be Antichrist, and that it must be completed by him, is sufficiently indicated by Christ when he said, Matthew 24:21 - 22, “then shall be great tribulation, such as never was…for the elects’ sake it must be quickly finished,” namely when Antichrist himself has been killed, as Paul made clear.
spacer 13. We reply, to begin with, that it is not necessary to understand by “falling away” in the place of Paul a universal apostasy from the faith but a complete destruction of the Roman Empire, or a division of it into ten kingdoms, as is interpreted by Tertullian, De Resurrectione Carnis ch. 24, and by Jerome, the said q. 11 to Algas., and by Ambrose and Primas on that text. But destruction of the Roman Empire we admit is not to be carried through in a short time, but little by little over many years and kings. For first the Roman Empire will be divided into ten or more kings, but afterwards Antichrist will come, and he will contend with them for some years and eventually will overcome them, as we said. So, for the total falling away or defection of the Roman Empire the life of one man will not be sufficient; but for the final completion that is to be done by Antichrist the life of one man will suffice, as has been sufficiently explained.
spacer 14. Second, we say that by the name of “falling away” is there signified Antichrist himself, for thus does Augustine, De Civitate Dei XX.19, read “fugitive,” and he says, “He calls him fugitive, namely from the Lord God; because if it can rightly be said of all the impious, much more of him.” But in the Greek in that place is put the word “apostasy,” by which name Antichrist is understood by the Greeks there to be signified; it is indicated by Chrysostom in homil. 3, “Ut Illum Intellexit,” and he is followed by Theophylact. Theodoret too and Oecumenius hand it on, and Hugo Eterianus in . De Regress. Animar. ch. 23. Now Antichrist can be thus called, either to declare that he will be the supreme apostate, for in this way are abstracts wont to be employed for concretes so as to signify excellence or excess in such property, or certainly the name of the effect is, by metonymy, attributed to the author or cause; for because Antichrist will be cause of the greatest future apostasy in the Church, the name of apostasy is attributed to him.
spacer 15. From which it is clear that what the King of England says in his Preface. p.64, does not stand nor is true, that all Pontificialists regularly affirm that by the name of “falling away’ a general apostasy is there signified. For although some, in a better and sounder sense than Protestants, thus interpret that word, not all, however, regularly affirm it, as has been seen. Nor do I sufficiently understand the reason with which the king tries to prove that all Papists must necessarily so think, “because,” he says, “otherwise their Church would be every day liable to errors.” For what is this inference? That if by falling away is signified the destruction of the Roman Empire or Antichrist himself, therefore the Roman Church will be every day liable to errors? There is surely no connection, no likelihood of inference. But perhaps by that argument he only wished to prove that the apostasy, which he means to be signified by the word ‘falling away’, will be general and not particular. However neither is this too thence proved, nor does the inference have even in this sense any likelihood. Because although there are every day, or frequently, particular apostasies from the Roman and Catholic Church, it does not therefore become every day liable to errors; because it both always condemns the errors of them who depart from itself, and apostates themselves immediately exit from it, and it itself, although it is sometimes diminished in persons, always remains unspotted, according to that verse of 1 John 2:18, “even now are there many antichrists.” And later, v. 19, “They went out from us, but if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us.” And later, v. 20, “But ye have an unction from the Holy Spirit, and ye know all things.” The Church therefore always retains the Holy Spirit and truth (as he adds in ch. 4:6), although every day many depart from it. Hence too in the final apostasy, which will be under Antichrist, although it can in a sound way be called general, the Catholic and Roman Church will always be immune from error, as will immediately be said.
spacer 16. Third, then, we add and concede that ‘falling away’ does there signify that an apostasy from the Roman Church and from the faith of Christ will be in the world at its end, namely if we retain the Greek word in its genuine propriety. Which exposition seems to me the one more indicated by Chrysostom. Anselm again, although he puts in first place the exposition about defection from the Roman Empire, at once adds, “Whether as a multitude of churches departing from the Roman Pontiff, or a multitude of men departing from the faith.” But St. Thomas, understanding that falling away to be the future defection from the Roman Empire, adds that it must be understood not only of the temporal Roman Empire but also of the spiritual, “into which, on the witness of Pope Leo, the temporal has been changed.” But the falling away from the spiritual Roman Empire he says is a falling away from the Catholic faith of the Roman Church. And this was the ancient exposition, as Augustine above reports, which he himself does not reject.
spacer 17. But this apostasy from the faith will not, as the heretics imagine, be so general that the true faith will perish from the whole Church of Christ, for this both has no foundation and is repugnant to the promise of Christ, Matthew 16:18, “and the gates of hell will not prevail against it,” and to his other words, Matthew 24:22, “but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened,” namely so that they do not fall away from charity, let alone from faith. And Daniel ch.12 said, v. 1, “at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book;” and at the end he concludes, v. 12: “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand and three hundred and five and thirty days,” which Christ said in other words, Matthew 24:13: “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” There will, then, not be lacking those who will endure. Nay rather, so far from being the case that all who are believers beforehand will then lose the faith, instead many, and most of all from the Jews, must then be converted to the faith, as is testified on that place by Theodoret and Gregory in homil.12 on Ezekiel. And Augustine, De Civitate Dei XX.29, says, “That through Elijah the Tishbite, at the last time before the judgment, the Jews will believe in the true Christ, that is, in our Christ, is a thing most frequent in the words and hearts of the faithful.”
spacer 18. Hence the same Augustine in the same Book, ch.8, says that the Church, elect and predestined by God, is never to be led astray, not even in the persecution of Antichrist, but, he says, “the Church will be here at that time, even when the devil is to be loosed, just as, since it was here instituted, it has been and will be here for all time.” And later he says that then Satan is to be loosed, “so that the most faithful patience of the elect might be proved,” not so that it might be conquered, “for,” he says, “those with whom he must make war will be such that they cannot be conquered by his so great power and snares.” But, later in the same chapter, he questions further whether in that time of apostasy not only will some believers remain but also whether some, who were not in the faith, will be added to it; and he replies to begin with, that many children must in those three and a half years be baptized by faithful parents, and thus they at least will be added anew to the faith. Then he says in general: “Neither those who fall from the faith, nor those who are joined to the Church, will be lacking at that time,” which he confirms extensively. That time, then, is called a time of falling away or of apostasy, not because the whole Church and all the faithful will deny Christ, but because there will be great devastation, and temptation will overcome more than will remain victorious, or than were ever conquered in any other persecution. But how great will be the multitude of the apostates is uncertain; for although some say that two parts of the faithful will fall and a third remain, I do not find it anywhere revealed or sufficiently founded.
spacer 19. This apostasy, therefore, will not be so universal that it could not happen within that brief time, namely three years and a half, both because in those last times, before even Antichrist comes, the Church will be troubled with many persecutions and contradictions. For as Christ foretold, Matthew 24:10 - 12, “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” And thus when Antichrist comes, he will find men well disposed, so that he might in a brief time make of them a great loss. Hence Augustine, De Civitate Dei XX.19 reports that many of the ancient commentators understood the words of Paul, 2 Thessalonians 2:6 - 7, “And now ye know what witholdeth that he might be revealed in his time, for the mystery of iniquity doth yet work,” not of the Roman Empire, but of the bad and the counterfeit who are in the Church, until they come to so great a number that it makes a great people for Antichrist, and this is the mystery of iniquity, which seems hidden.” And later he says that then all the bad or the hidden heretics will go forth and be joined to Antichrist so as to adhere to him, and he will help them to overthrow the rest. Add that he says later from Paul and Revelation, that, “his future presence will be after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and will all deceivableness of unrighteousness, for then will Satan be loosed and through him will Antichrist wonderfully but deceitfully work.” Hence, then, is it easily understood that there is no need for a succession of many centuries (as Calvin said) for that general apostasy which will happen in the time of Antichrist; or certainly if the world will be disposed through many centuries for that general falling away, the disposition will not be under Antichrist or be made by Antichrist but by the many heretics and precursors of Antichrist. For both are signified in Matthew 24 by Christ, in 1 John 2 and 4, and in Paul 2 Thessalonians 2.
spacer 20. But if someone urges that this proceeds correctly if the antichristian apostasy should seize on some one province alone, or at most one part of the world; but so will it not be, but it will seize on the whole world, and it does not seem possible for it to be in so brief an interval of time so broadly extended. We reply, to begin with, that it is not clear that the persecution of Antichrist will roam in so many regions of the world; and that it is likely that the error of Antichrist is not be as spread about throughout the whole world as the Gospel is before the Day of Judgment to be preached in the whole world, because the former is not so foretold in Scripture as is the latter. Nor either do the prophecies say that Antichrist will reign in the whole world taken properly and in its whole universality, but they say that Antichrist will seize the Roman world previously divided into ten kingdoms, and that afterwards he will move war against the saints, hence it is likely that in the same Roman world will be that spiritual slaughter and apostasy of many faithful. But for this there will not be necessary a succession of many kings or times. For one Antichrist could have very many ministers of his iniquity, who will together disseminate his errors through various parts of the same world; and at the same time (God permitting) the demon will exercise all his strength and, partly by signs and lying wonders, partly by temporal promises, partly by coercion and exquisite torments, he will in a brief time bring it about that the greater part of the faithful will renounce Christ and receive the mark of the beast. And so not only the time of many centuries but also not the time of the life of one man either will be necessary for bringing about the aforesaid apostasy.
spacer 21. I add next that it is not necessary for such persecution and falling away to invade the whole Roman world; because this has not been revealed, but only that it will be greater than it ever has been, which could be both intensively, so to say, wherever it happens to be, and extensively with respect to other persecutions that it could possess, even if it not reach all the provinces and places of the whole monarchy, not to mention all the parts of the world. Especially because, just as Christ said those days are to be shortened for the sake of the elect, so it could happen for the sake of the same end that it be confined within certain boundaries of the world, God not permitting, because of the same end and other counsels of his secret providence, that it be more fully extended. Or certainly, if perhaps the tribulation as to places or regions or provinces of the world is going to be more general, and will bring about that great apostasy in all of them, still a more lasting duration of time will not be necessary for that effect, because it is not necessary that it happen in diverse places by succession of time; for it could be done at the same time by various ministers in diverse places. For Satan is to be loosed, who has everywhere invisible ministers very well prepared, and Antichrist will not lack visible ones, and he could in a short time send them out everywhere with great force and human power, aided by the industry and power of the demon, and he will urge them on to supreme diligence and speed, Revelation 12:12, “knowing that he hath but a short time.” Therefore that apostasy could, for whatever reason, be completed within the time shortened by God.



1. Introduction. spacer2. The two witnesses from Revelation ch. 11 are said by the King of England to be the two Testaments. spacer3. Some favor this exposition. spacer4. Those two witnesses will be true men. spacer5 - 6. Proof from the Scriptures. spacer7. Other words of John are harshly and falsely accommodated to the two Testaments. spacer8. The Latin language is not unknown in the way the king imagines.spacer 9 - 10. It is shown from the time determined by John that they are not the two Testaments. spacer11 - 12. The metaphors fabricated by heretics are turned back against them. spacer13 - 14. Interpretation of another metaphor of Protestants.spacer 15. Heresiarchs have not been killed by that imaginary Antichrist. Heretics are more to be said to rise from themselves than to rise again. spacer16. The falsity of that metaphor is shown from the time and place. The prophets of heretics pervert kingdoms, not convert them. spacer17. The Catholic truth is made firm. spacer18. That great city, in whose streets will lie after death the bodies of the two prophets, signifies the world, but more properly and truly it signifies Jerusalem. The spirit of life cannot be understood of the glory of the souls but of the resurrection of the two witnesses.spacer 19. Although those two witnesses not be Enoch and Elijah, yet are they true men. spacer20. The same place of Revelation shows that Antichrist has not yet come. Nor have the two prophets or others like them yet been.

INCE we have started speaking about the time of Antichrist, it is necessary, before we pass on to the other heads proposed by the king, to digress with him and dispute of the witnesses to be sent against Antichrist, especially because this disputation is closely conjoined with the one we have pursued about the time of Antichrist. For one of the chief signs whereby we can show that Antichrist has not yet come is taken from this, that the witnesses to be sent against him have not come. Now this foundation about the sending of the two witnesses is taken from Revelation ch. 11. And therefore the true sense of that prophecy must be looked into and explained. When, therefore, John has foretold the persecution of Antichrist in the words, v.2, “the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months,” he subjoins, v. 3, “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” Which days make almost the same number of months, namely forty-two.
spacer 2. About this prophecy, then, we first inquire whether those two witnesses, whom God promises he will give at the time of the persecution of Antichrist, will be true men, or what they will be. For the King of England interprets this whole place metaphorically, and he has two expositions which we will consider in this and the following chapter. According to the former exposition, he denies that those two witnesses will be men, but he says that they are the two Testaments, the Old and the New, which against Antichrist and “the Babylonian monarchy,” as he himself speaks, “bear a constant and manifest witness; and therefore Antichrist will very much attack them with hatred, and leave nothing untouched whereby to dishonor, corrupt, and suppress them.” So far more or less the king, who takes this occasion to inveigh against the Supreme Pontiffs and the Roman Church, imagining that many things against the divine Scripture have by them been said and done “full of insult and shame. Of such sort are,” he says, “to call it a waxen nose, a dead letter, and a Lesbian rule, to have mixed with it the apocryphal books, and to have tried to put them on a par with it;” nay, “to prefer to it the traditions of men, and under foreign tongues to suppress it and, by prohibiting it from being read in the common speech, to keep it hidden,” and finally, “to have destroyed and killed it,” when other Latin translations besides the Vulgate, corrected and emended by the authority of the Pontiffs, have by the same Pontiffs been prohibited under censure. But these witnesses, slain by Antichrist, God has at last, through the King of England and his ministers, raised up or returned to pristine light and completeness, as he himself wishes. And thus does he conclude that the prophecy has been fulfilled.
spacer 3. To this metaphorical interpretation occasion has, as to the part about the two witnesses being the two Testaments, been given by some ancient writers. For in the book on Revelation, placed among the works of Augustine under his name, in homil. 8 there is thus contained: “I will give to my two witnesses, that is, to the two Testaments.” Now that work is without doubt not Augustine’s, and has rightly been relegated to the appendix by the scholars of Louvain. But it is believed to be of Ticonius, whose work on Revelation the same Augustine mentions in De Trinitate XIII.3, where he also says that that Ticonius was a Donatist heretic. And therefore one should not care much about his interpretation, although he does not altogether deny that those witnesses are men, for he says later that they are the Church which, because of the two Testaments, is set down in the number two. Which exposition is imitated by Bede on Revelation II.11, where he also understands by the two witnesses, “the Church united from two peoples and radiated with the light of two Testaments.” However Bede both seems to have spoken mystically and does not insist on that exposition, for he at once reports the other about Elijah and Enoch, and he does not reject it but tacitly approves it. And if any later Catholic author has seemed to approve or insinuate that mystical exposition, he has not dared to depart from the literal sense. And therefore the metaphor, as it is handed on by the king, is proper to Protestants, and is said to have been invented by a certain Robert Abbatus, a Calvinist and, insofar as it excludes the other proper and literal sense, it is altogether improbable but, insofar as it is applied against the Roman Church, it abounds in errors and heresies.
spacer 4. I say, therefore, that those witnesses of whom John speaks will be true men, specifically to be sent to give testimony for Christ against Antichrist. This assertion I judge to be so certain that it cannot without rashness be denied. The proof is first from the propriety of the words, which to abandon without foundation is great rashness and corruption of the Scriptures. But this has no foundation, whether in Scripture itself, as is clear from the words, wherein that metaphor has no foundation, or in the Fathers, because they all contradict it, as we will see below, or in any reason or conjecture; for the king adduces none, but only a willful adaptation, accommodated to his own opinions and errors, and overflowing with insults against the Catholic Church. It is not, then, an interpretation of Scripture but a corruption.
spacer 5. In addition, if we ponder each point little by little, we will easily understand how inept the accommodation is. For, to begin with, we gather from those words that God promised to give two witnesses at the time of the coming and persecution of Antichrist, as is clear from the context in John, for therefore does he join the two things, v. 2, “the holy city shall they tread under foot &c.” and immediately thereafter, v. 3, “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy,” that is, I will give to them the spirit of prophesying, or I will in the time of that calamity send them for prophesying. Therefore those two promised witnesses cannot be literally the two Testaments, for these were given to the Church from the beginning; nor is anything in the time of Antichrist to be added to them, nor will they be given in a new way, save insofar as those prophets will be sent to propose and interpret sacred doctrine in a greater spirit. Nay rather if Antichrist, according to the opinion of the king, has from the 606th year of Christ arrived, and if from the same time (as Protestants likewise fabricate) the Scriptures began to be corrupted by the tradition of men, then in no way were two witnesses then given for prophesying, but those already long before given began then to be killed or corrupted.
spacer 6. Next, in the same place of Revelation it is said that those two witnesses will prophesy for 1,260 days, that is, for almost the whole time that Antichrist will tread the holy city, that is, the Church, under foot; which time, according to the exposition of the king, includes all the times of the Roman Pontificate from the 606th year of Christ up to, for example, Luther. Therefore in this whole time both Testaments are being preserved in their virtue and wholeness in the Church, and their doctrine is become very greatly known and is fighting against Antichrist, nor will anyone dare to corrupt it, because it is there said of the two witnesses that for that time, v. 5, “if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth…and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.” And at once their great virtue and power is described, and finally it is added, v. 7, “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them.” Therefore Antichrist will not corrupt the Scriptures until the end of his time and his persecution. But yet, according to the opinion of the king, the Scriptures are suffering war from the Pope from the time when antichristianism began in the Papacy, and for the whole of this time the Scriptures are not prophesying in the Church but human traditions, whereby the Scriptures are obscured and corrupted; what adjustment of fit is there, then, between such a metaphor or harmony of the prophecy of John and this made up interpretation?
spacer 7. In addition, John says that after the two witnesses have been killed by the beast or Antichrist, vv. 8 - 9, “their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city…where also our Lord was crucified…three days and a half,” which the king declares was said, “because for half the spiritual week, which intervenes between the first and second coming of Christ, the corpses as it were of the Scriptures will, to the contempt of all, lie exposed, dishonored, corrupted, suppressed &c.” In which words are two things to be noted. The first is that, in order to accommodate, according to his metaphorical sense, these two corpses to the two Testaments, he makes up and exaggerates many things that neither can he prove nor do they have any likelihood; and so it is established that he has through error from his Protestants accepted them, and that thereupon they serve in no way to explain the metaphor. For he says that the books of Scripture for many centuries back “have been condemned to silence, because the reading of them was forbidden to laymen, such that he who dared take them in his hand or to look into them was burned as a heretic.” But each of these is plainly false, both because neither law nor example can be shown for these things, and also because the opposite is manifestly clear from the use and practice of the Catholic Church.
spacer 8. The king indeed adds that the books of Scripture lay hidden in an unknown tongue. But Latin is not an unknown tongue in the Church, except to the unlettered and uneducated, for whom it is not useful to wish by themselves to understand or interpret the Scriptures, but it is more expedient that what is fitting for them to know or understand of the Scriptures they learn from their pastors and preachers of the Gospel. Nor has Sacred Scripture been otherwise preserved and handled in the Catholic Church. Next, in order to fabricate that metaphorical killing of both Testaments, the king says that Scripture has been deformed, although however it has, in the completeness both of all the canonical books and of all their parts, been preserved in the Church and put forward by legitimate authority. Again he says it has been corrupted; which is plainly false, because by the Church, when necessary, a reading that had been corrupted was emended; but where no change had been made, it was preserved in its antiquity. But finally he says that it was killed in the year 1562 because, besides the emended Vulgate edition proposed by the Church, others made and corrupted by heretics are not permitted. All which things are both per se frivolous and altogether foreign to explaining the said place of Scripture.
spacer 9. Another thing to be noted in the said words of the king is that in them he again inculcates his exposition, namely that John did not by those days and months understand a definite time but half the course of the whole time from the first up to the second coming of Christ; which exposition we have above sufficiently refuted. But now I ask, when he says that “for half that time” the Testaments of Scripture “will lie as corpses, exposed to contempt, neglected by almost everybody, and not by many understood” — I ask what he intends when he says “for half the time”? For either he means that for the whole half time, which intervenes between the first and second coming of Christ, the bodies of the Scriptures like corpses will lie in that state, or he means that they are only in the half time to be killed without designation of the time during which they will lie dead. This latter is repugnant to the prophecy of John when he says, v. 8, “their dead bodies shall lie in the streets of the city.” And later, v. 9, “and they of…the tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half.” Those corpses, then, will lie for the whole half week, which, if it is a spiritual week as the king wishes, includes the whole half part of the time that runs between the first and second coming of Christ.
spacer 10. But if this be conceded and the king chooses the former sense for his words, let him declare to us, I ask, how it could happen that for that same spiritual week those two witnesses will give their testimony, or how they will prophesy for 1,260 days, as John says; by which days, too, the king teaches that half a spiritual week is signified. Especially because John says that those witnesses are to be killed after they have finished giving their testimony; which cannot be understood of the first half part of that spiritual week, that is, of the six hundred years from the first coming of Christ when (as the king wishes) Scripture was alive; for John is plainly speaking of the same time when Antichrist will be persecuting the Church; therefore at the end of that time the witnesses will be killed. How then will the same bodies afterwards lie for a whole half week in the street? Add that, after the witnesses have been killed, they will no longer bear witness against Antichrist, because they have now finished their testimony, and because, as soon as they are made alive again, they will be called to heaven, and because at once will Antichrist be killed. But yet, from the opinion of the king, the two Testaments, after they were made alive again by the spirit of Luther or the like, are still persevering in giving testimony against Antichrist and are dwelling among men, and him whom the king himself calls Antichrist, he himself is still alive and will live to the end of the age. Therefore that accommodation or rather fiction can in no way stand.
spacer 11. Besides, if it were licit to use such vain interpretations or accommodations, what would be easier than to show that those metaphors about the two Testaments, as about the two witnesses killed by the enemies of Christ &c., are much more truly accommodated to the heretics of this time, or to the king himself, than to the Catholic Church? For then is a man killed when of the spirit by which he lives and speaks he is deprived; therefore, most of all could Scripture then be said to be killed when of the spirit by which it was made and should be interpreted it is deprived. For the body as it were of Scripture is the written letter, but its spirit and its life are the sense of it; therefore it is then truly killed when by each one’s own human or perhaps diabolic spirit it is explained and induced to testify. Now it is clear that in no other way is Scripture by the king and by Protestants treated of and expounded, as the king shows in this very exposition of the present place, and as he testified above in establishing the rule of his faith. So it is necessary that among men of this sort Scripture should lie as it were dead, and its body be borne in their hands as it were a corpse. To which things does the verse too very will agree that, v. 10, “they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry,” “because (says the king) their carnal lusts will no longer be held back, nor be reduced to order by the sword of the word of God,” because among them it is not “living and efficacious, but dead and without the divine spirit.” For, in whatever way they live, they promise themselves justice and glory by the mere faith that sins are not imputed to them, and they preach that neither observance of the commandments nor penance for sins is according to the Scriptures necessary. Next, while these fellows are boasting that they alone understand the New and Old Testaments, it is very certain that they possess them without life and spirit, and that among them these lie precisely like dead bodies.
spacer 12. Next, in this way can that metaphorical interpretation from almost the whole said ch. 11. be refuted and confounded. For if those two witnesses will not be true men, but are only the word of God in the two Testaments, it is either impossible to hold to the order of the whole chapter and interpret it suitably, or infinite metaphors must be willfully and without foundation invented, which is repugnant to the soundness of Scripture and to an agreeable way of explaining it. For if those witnesses will not be true men and prophets, what is it that is said of them, v .6. “These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy?” For how do the Scriptures have this power in the whole time of their prophecy; or what is the time of the two Testaments save either the whole time that the Church lasts, or certainly that especially in which the Protestants want Scripture itself to have been preserved more complete, incorrupt, and living? Again, as to the remark, v.6: “they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will,” in what probable way can it be accommodated to the two Testaments or to anything else besides two men? And the same argument can be made about the remaining part of the chapter, as has been sufficiently made clear; therefore must those words be understood in a proper sense about men. Which opinion, as to this part, that the two witnesses will be true men, we judge to be the Catholic one; both because it is in Scripture sufficiently express and cannot, except with great violence, be twisted to a metaphorical sense; and also because the Fathers and expositors have thus commonly understood those words, as we will see in the following chapter.
spacer 13. But now there follows for examination another interpretation that the king rather frequently says is received, namely among his Protestants. Who, in order to accommodate the prophecy to their preachers of the new Gospel, posit a metaphor in the number two, whom the king says are called two witnesses because they were few and appeared in goat’s hair and sackcloth, “because they preached penance;” but they are said to have been killed because many were cruelly killed and burned in fire, but to have been resurrected in their successors because there were not lacking those who, by preaching of the word of God, possessed their virtue and their place, but to have done miracles because in a short time, by virtue of their spirit, they brought back many and great nations to the true way, that is, of faith. These things the king takes more or less from his own private spirit, not however from sure science, but, as he himself says, from his own conjecture, which he can neither found in the holy Fathers, for he admits that they erred in explaining Revelation, nor in the words themselves of Scripture, since he twists them at will to self-serving metaphors, which can indeed be sufficient for pouring scorn on that exposition. However, for greater display of the error of it, I note that certain things in that accommodation are false, others accommodated perversely, and others omitted, perhaps because they can receive no place or agreeable sense in the metaphor.
spacer 14. For, first, it is false that these pseudo-prophets were so few that they might rightly be believed to be signified by the name of two. For the sects of heretics of this time are so many that they can scarce be counted; and there are as many opinions as heads; nay in each one can many heads and many masters be found. For the reason most of all that in that number two the king wants not only the inventors of each heresy but also their successors, who up to this day are preaching new faith, to be included; but they assuredly are more than may be aptly signified by the noun two. Next, more evident is the falsehood that these new preachers appeared in preaching penance, since it is clear that one of their chief false articles is that penance is not necessary, but a new life, which they establish in a new and unheard of faith in their own justice alone. Besides, prophets are not said to appear in sackcloth because they preach penance, but because they profess a harsh and penitent life, or because they do penance; but these preachers of a new Gospel, what asperity of life, I ask, do they profess, or what penance have they done? Certainly not even the king himself has dared to say it, lest he affirm a manifest falsehood. Those fellows, then, are not the witnesses clothed in sackcloth whom God will send against Antichrist.
spacer 15. Moreover, if by the two witnesses are understood all those preachers, John, when he says that those two have been killed by Antichrist, must as a result be understood to be affirming that all those preachers have been killed by the same beast; for he says that two were killed in the same way as that two preached. But this is false, for there are few of these heresiarchs who have been killed by men, or punished by the Church with a worthy penalty of death, but many of them died not without prodigies and signs of divine justice; therefore, either that interpretation supposes something false, or the metaphor does not stand. Much more incongruous, indeed, is that they are said to have been resurrected in their successors, for this is not resurrection but new generation of offspring; but John speaks of the raising up and resurrection of the same men who had fallen. For he says, v. 11, “And after three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them,” namely into those same who were lying killed, “and they stood upon their feet.” In addition, that perverse preachers have imitators and successors is not a new thing, and therefore neither does it effect admiration and astonishment; but at the resurrection of those slain witnesses, “great fear fell upon them which saw them.” That resurrection, then, is not the succession of another like person, but the miraculous and prodigious raising up of the same person. Next is added that the enemies of those preachers saw them ascending into heaven, whither they had, immediately after their resurrection, been called; but when did the Church see or hear anything the like in the successors of Luther, Calvin, or Henry VIII? The accommodation therefore is frivolous.
spacer 16. And hence, finally, is proved that it is also insufficient. For, to begin with, they cannot explain why those prophets of theirs are said to prophesy for 1,260 days, although in Scripture a time definite in so many numbers and parts is not wont to be put for an indefinite one, nor can a reason for such metaphor or a like example be adduced. And much less can they explain why it is said that the bodies of those their prophets will lie, v .8, “in the street of the great city…where also our Lord was crucified.” For since on this point they affirm that the discussion is properly about the death of their prophets, these words too should be properly understood of their dead bodies; how, then, will they lie in the street of the city for three days and a half when almost all that died by punishment of death were at once burned? Next, neither can they accommodate the place, for by the great city in which their Lord was crucified they understand Rome, as we will see below; but neither Luther nor Calvin or their successors were killed in Rome. And the same argument proceeds even if that city, as the truth is, be understood as Jerusalem, for we read about none of the Protestants that he was, because of his new Gospel, killed there. Nor also can they expound what are those three days and a half, except by having recourse to a spiritual week, which, according to their sense, can embrace more than a thousand years. Besides, where is there found in these pseudo-prophets, v. 6, “power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy,” or have power “over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will,” or of doing some other marvelous works that have metaphorically been signified by those words? Certainly we read that these false prophets did no marvelous work. And the perversion rather than the conversion of provinces and kingdoms, which was done by their false doctrine, is no sign of the virtue of their word or spirit, since they did not draw men to penance or observance of the precepts or perfection of life, but to license of living without ecclesiastical obedience, nay, by promising salvation through faith alone without the yoke of the divine law, they have with ease deceived men prone to the things of sense.
spacer 17. The true and Catholic opinion, then, is that those prophets foretold by John will be two mortal men only, to be sent into the world by divine virtue and providence at the time of the coming of Antichrist, with the grace and virtue of the Holy Spirit for preaching the true Christ our Lord against Antichrist, and for confirming his faith with true and new miracles, for a true and exact 1,260 days, that is, for almost the whole time of the persecution of Antichrist, as is asserted by the words of John understood in their propriety, and as was explained above in chapter 3. And it possesses the most agreeable reason of divine providence, lest in a time of so bitter persecution God should seem to leave his Church without sufficient and proportionate external help. For it is appropriate that God should through men come to the help of men, which we see to have been observed by him at all times and occasions; therefore in those days too he will provide men a like help through those witnesses.
spacer 18. At the end of those days, indeed, the two prophets will be truly and properly killed by Antichrist, that is, either by himself or his ministers; for this the Scripture does not declare, and the truth of the words is preserved in either way. Again, after death their bodies will truly lie in the street of the great city for three whole days and part of another; by which city some understand the world, insofar as it abounds with corrupt men, for the city is there spiritually called, v. 8, “Sodom” and “Egypt,” by which names is this world wont to be called in Scripture; but it is better understood as Jerusalem, for it is added there: “where also our Lord was crucified.” About these words we will say more later. Now, in those days the wicked and the followers of Antichrist will truly and properly rejoice over the death of the prophets, and will in dishonor of them not allow their corpses to be buried. Which also God purposely permits so that their resurrection may be more miraculous, which will after three and a half days truly and properly happen, according to the words, v. 11, “And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them;” which things cannot be understood of the glorification of the souls of those prophets, as some heretics have imagined, both because the glorification of the souls of those martyrs will not be put off for three days, not even for a moment, and because it is at once added: “and they stood upon their feet,” where the discussion is evidently about the resurrection of the bodies. Which, for those two prophets, will not be reserved for the time of the general resurrection, but will be done at once, in the sight and to the wonder of other men still living in this mortal life, and they will hear the voice from heaven calling them, v .12, “Come up hither;” which voice they will obey by ascending into the heavens to the wonder of their enemies. Of whom at once a great part were, when a great earthquake toppled the city, overwhelmed and killed; the others, however, who remained, struck by terror, gave glory to God, as John concludes, v.13.
spacer 19. Nor is it necessary to confirm all these things otherwise than by the context itself and the words of Scripture, for this in their propriety is what they signify, and no reason arises or necessity, nay nor suitability, to drag them to metaphorical senses and to accommodate them by one’s proper choice and feeling alone to one’s own opinions, as in truth is done by the King of England and other Protestants. Add that all the Fathers and interpreters understand those words of prophecy in their proper sense; for although they differ either in designating the persons of those witnesses or in other lesser circumstances, as we will soon see, yet in this dogma, that the prophecy is to be understood properly and literally, they all agree, as we will report in the following chapter. Here only I refer to Lactantius VII.17, where, passing over the name, he says that a great Prophet will come at the time of Antichrist, about whom he interprets the place of Revelation literally. However, I do not see why he speaks of the great Prophet in the singular and not of two prophets, as John expressly speaks. The thing, then, should be understood in this way. Nor against this proper sense of that context does the king adduce anything besides the things that he disputes about Enoch and Elijah, about which we will see in the following chapter. For now we plainly say that, although those two prophets not be Enoch and Elijah, it does not thereby happen that they will not be men and true prophets and preachers, properly to be killed by Antichrist and to be raised up by Christ. For God could from holy men then living call two by his grace to that ministry, and impart to them the spirit of prophecy and miracles, and in them could all the things there foretold properly and very truly be fulfilled. This sense and truth, then, demonstrated in this chapter can per se stand, whatever be thought, in the case of the other question, about Enoch and Elijah.
spacer 20. Hence I at length conclude that this place explained in this propriety and generality suffices for demonstrating that Antichrist has not yet come, in abstraction even from the special disputation about Enoch and Elijah. Because not only is it evident that Elijah and Enoch have not come, but also that neither have any two prophets hitherto appeared preaching in such wise against some enemy of Christ that in them everything has been fulfilled that John there foretells about those two witnesses and prophets, as is evident when one considers with propriety and truth all the circumstances we have noted. For no preachers have hitherto been who preached for 1,260 days with power of performing miracles in the sky, the waters, and the earth, and who after those days were publicly killed, and their bodies for three days and a half lain in the street of some city so that afterwards they should be publicly resurrected. Therefore, with that proper and true sense standing, it is evident that those two witnesses have not yet been sent, and accordingly that neither has Antichrist come. Much more evident is it, then, that this prophecy cannot be made to fit the Pope.



1. King James contends that the witnesses to be sent against Antichrist will not be Enoch and Elijah.spacer 2. Enoch and Elijah still exist in mortal life. spacer3. Proof from the Scriptures. No mortal man attains immortal life unless he first die. spacer4. Elijah and Enoch have not yet attained glory. spacer5. Evasion. Response.spacer 6. No one before Christ achieved glory. spacer7 - 8. Evasion. Response. Enoch and Elijah are by the Apostle taught not to be enjoying immortal glory. spacer9. The Fathers uphold the same opinion. King James accuses Bellarmine wrongly. spacer10. The opinion of St. Irenaeus is considered. spacer11. That of Tertullian. spacer12. That St. Jerome. spacer13. That of St. Augustine. spacer14 - 15. That of St. Ambrose.

LTHOUGH, as I said, it is not necessary, for showing what we intend, to know or define who those two individual men will be whom God will give as witnesses and preachers against Antichrist, because, provided it is clear that they will be true men, the demonstration proceeds, as I have shown, whoever they will be; nevertheless, since on this point the Protestants inveigh vehemently against the Fathers, against Catholics, and against the continual tradition and common sense of the Church, and make mockery of the Scriptures by their own decision and spirit, we cannot therefore pass over this question. On which point we will only add what will seem necessary for replying to the king and refuting his new opinion, for the rest that could here be said has been dealt with by us in another place. King James, then, contends that the opinion is false which asserts that Elijah and Enoch will come at the end of the world in their own mortal flesh to preach against Antichrist; and he calls it, with the accustomed license and liberty of Protestants, “an empty and old wives’ tale,” nay, “the vanity of a Jewish fable, and an idle dream.” For thus are Protestants with insults and exaggerations wont to persuade the unlettered and ignorant of what they cannot with reasons or testimonies confirm. So the king adduces no testimonies or reasons wherewith to prove his opinion but only tries to establish that the testimonies Bellarmine adduced to confirm the old dogma are not efficacious; and this he has thought to be sufficient for confirming his own opinion, because he supposes it to exceed our human grasp, as I will immediately report. We however will first uncover and refute the errors of all those among whom he himself dwells; then we will confirm the ecclesiastical and true opinion; while finally we will make satisfaction to his objections or rather evasions.
spacer 2. We lay down at the beginning, then, that Elijah and Enoch are living up to now, not with a celestial and glorious, but with a mortal life, that is, a life in which they neither see God face to face nor have attained in their bodies immortality or the clarity of glory. The first part, that Elijah and Enoch are alive, the king admits as certain, but for the rest he supposes the contrary dogma, and posits the foundation of his opinion when he says, “How could this stand with theology and reason, that these two glorified bodies should from paradise or heaven descend, should preach, should fight against Antichrist, and should be killed by him?” Now this foundation he seems to gather, in the first place, from Genesis 5, where of Enoch it is said, v. 24, “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” “Or called him,” he says, “to himself.” And from 4 Kings [2 Kings] 2 where Elijah is said to have been seen carried into heaven. Next, he uses this dilemma: “Now they must be either in heaven or in paradise; if in heaven (which is without doubt true), their bodies must have been glorified, since nothing corruptible can penetrate thither, Revelation 20. But if they are in earthly paradise, first we desire to know where that paradise is &c.” And later he subjoins: “it is blasphemy to believe that from when Adam was ejected from paradise any of Adam’s posterity has reached there.” He also afterwards adds that the earthly paradise was destroyed by the flood, if not before.
spacer 3. However, that foundation is not only new and unheard of, but is also repugnant to Scripture’s universal ways of speaking, from which it is repugnant to remove anything without the authority either of the same Scripture or of the unwritten word of God manifested by the tradition of the Church and the Fathers, which here cannot be shown but rather the contrary can be. The assumption is proved in two ways. The first is taken from the universal rule of the Scriptures, that no mortal man is transferred to immortal and blessed life except by intervention of bodily death, and that consequently no one achieves the glory of the body save by means of the resurrection which is to life. Both are taught with sufficient plainness by Paul 1 Corinthians 15 when he says, vv. 21 - 22, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead; for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” And later, v.36: “Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die.” And later, vv. 42 - 43, “It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory &c.” And the rest whereby he plainly teaches that this is the general rule from which not even Christ wished to be excepted; for it was necessary also for him to die and so to enter into his glory, and therefore is he called “the first begotten of the dead, the first fruits of them that rise.” For no one is carried to glory unless he have first tasted death. Hence in Hebrews 9 the same Paul says, vv. 27 - 28:, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment; so Christ was once offered &c.” And in Romans 5:12, “as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed unto all men.”
spacer 4. But Elijah indeed and Enoch have hitherto not died, as Paul teaches about Enoch in Hebrews 11 when he says, v. 5:, “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death;” and about Elijah it is gathered from 4 Kings 2, where is narrated, v.11, that he was carried into heaven as he talked with Elisha. And the king thus admits it about each with so great exaggeration that he says all the Fathers agree on this, that “both Enoch and Elijah are still alive, which,” he says, “no Christian has ever I think denied.” And explaining later how they are alive, he says, “For God is the God of the living, not of the dead; by how much more among the living are Enoch and Elijah, who have never in the manner of others tasted death.” Therefore, since they have not yet tasted death, they do not yet possess a dwelling in heaven and perfect beatitude of soul and body, according to the aforesaid rule of Scripture.
spacer 5. The reply could, however, be made that no rule is so general that it not suffer exception, or admit of privilege; therefore, although the said rule is general, Enoch and Elijah could easily be by privilege excepted. Nor should this seem marvelous, since it was the opinion of many Fathers that the men who are found alive near the judgment will not die but must be changed and taken up into the state of glory, if they were just; why then could not Enoch and Elijah along with them be excepted? Especially because the general law is that men should complete the present course of life within a few years, and that it is certain Enoch and Elijah, who have not died for so many thousands of years, were exempted from this law. However, although we admit that it is not so certain that no exception is to be admitted in this latter law as in the former, nevertheless the true opinion, and the one received by theologians and more approved by the Fathers and altogether in conformity with the Scriptures, is that this rule too does not admit of any exception. For absolutely all men, even those who will be at the end of the world, will die before the Lord comes for judgment, according to the order set down by St. Paul in the words just mentioned, “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Of which matter we have elsewhere more largely disputed. Yet we add that, although the exception about the men who will be at the end of the world is excused from error and rashness, because an occasion for it is taken from Scripture and it has some foundation in the Fathers, nevertheless this exception in the case of Elijah and Enoch cannot, because of its novelty and lack of foundation in the Fathers, be by force of this second rule excused of rashness; since besides the places cited, David in Psalm 88 [89] with great weight says, v. 48, “What man is he that liveth and shall not see death?” supposing it as certain that there is no one of whom it could be affirmed. Since, therefore, Enoch and Elijah have not yet seen death, they have assuredly not yet been made immortal, according to this rule of Scripture.
spacer 6. But so as to make it more certainly clear that that opinion cannot without error be defended, we add a second general rule of Scripture, namely that no man descending from Adam obtained celestial glory, whether in his soul alone or, which is more weighty, in body and soul, before the coming and death of Christ the Lord. This rule is handed on to us by Paul in Hebrews 9 when he says that into the second tabernacle, or the holy of holies, only the High Priest was wont with blood to enter, v. 8, “The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.” Which condition, namely, it still had up to the point of Christ’s death, when the veil of the temple was rent and the gates of the heavenly kingdom were opened. Hence in the hymn ‘Te Deum Laudamus’ the Church sings, “Thou, the sting of death o’ercome, hast oped for believers the realm of heaven.” And Innocent III, in ch. “Maiores,” De Baptism. said that, “the kingdom of heaven up to the death of Christ was barred to everyone.”
spacer 7. It will perhaps be said that the way at that time indeed was not so made manifest that all the just might pass along it, nor the door so open that all might enter it; nevertheless it could to one or another on whom God wished to confer this benefit be extraordinarily made open. But to the contrary, for this is an exception to a rule given by the Holy Spirit, which it is not licit to fashion from one’s own brain. Next, there stand in the way against it the words of Christ in John 3:13, “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” Certainly, he who says “no man” excludes all save himself, and the exception confirms the rule to the contrary. Again, Paul in Hebrews 11, after he had numbered Enoch among the ancient Fathers, subjoins, vv. 39 - 40, “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise; God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” Therefore neither Enoch nor Elijah received the promise, nor have been made perfect, that is, not yet received beatitude of body and soul. For Paul had introduced Enoch in his own name and person, but Elijah he had without doubt included under the prophets, and he designates him in particular when he says later, v. 37: “they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins;” for of Elijah we read that he was, 4 Kings [2 Kings] 1:8, “girt with a girdle of leather about his loins,” and that 3 Kings [1 Kings] 19 he “wandered about” in flight from the persecution of Jezebel, “being destitute, afflicted, tormented, wandering in the mountains, and hiding in a cave” (Hebrews 11:37 - 38). Therefore, just as Enoch and Elijah are included under all who obtained a good report through faith, so are they also under those who did not receive the promise nor were made perfect.
spacer 8. Besides, Paul speaks thus in ch.10 of the same epistle, v. 19, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way that he hath consecrated for us,” that is, to which he gave beginning, or upon which he himself first of all entered or, as Theophylact says, “he made a new way, along which he first went.” The same more extensively in Theodoret, and it is understood in the same way by Chrysostom and Oecumenius. Hence, if even one man before Christ himself walked along that way and entered the gate of beatitude, Christ did not consecrate that good way. And there are like words in ch. 6:18 - 20, “we…have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us…which entereth into that within the veil, whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus.” Certainly, if Enoch and Elijah have entered, they entered as forerunners rather than Christ. Hence, because no one could have entered thither before him, thus did the Lord speak to the Apostles, John 14:2 - 3, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself.” Which testimonies I have considered more extensively in another place, and have confirmed with the expositions of the Fathers, and have profusely proved and defended this truth, and therefore I abstain now from a longer confirmation.
spacer 9. To these documents of Scripture are added the testimonies of the Fathers who, with unanimous consent, teach that Enoch and Elijah have not tasted death but are still alive in body and soul; but none of them says that they live in an immortal and glorious body, and many either indicate or openly teach that they still live in mortal bodies, although they are conserved by divine virtue, and are preserved from all corruptive alteration up to a predefined time. But the King of England says that Bellarmine adduced, for confirming his opinion, the testimonies of five Fathers, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Epiphanius, Jerome, and Augustine, but that they only say that Enoch and Elijah are alive and do not affirm that their bodies are mortal. Nay, he adds that the contrary is handed on by Irenaeus and Tertullian. For the former said, “Enoch and Elijah will remain in Paradise gazing on eternity until the consummation.” But the latter says that “Enoch has not tasted death, as candidate for eternity.” But we must more diligently consider their testimonies one by one.
spacer 10. Irenaeus indeed says in Book V that “Enoch and Elijah remain there gazing on incorruptibility.” But where, I ask, does he say they remain? To be sure, “in paradise,” he says, “where the first man was put,” that is in earthly paradise; but that is not the place of blest bodies; therefore Irenaeus contradicts the king when the king says that “Enoch for many ages back is in heaven in a glorious body.” Nay rather, Irenaeus adds “there,” that is in the same terrestrial paradise, “they remain until the consummation,” that is, until the end of the world. But how this is to be understood we receive from the same Irenaeus bk.4 ch.30 where he says of Enoch: “he has been translated and is conserved until now.” For these words do not signify, certainly, that he was translated into immortality, but that he is by God conserved in an extraordinary way “until now” and up to the end of the world, which he signified in another place by the noun “consummation.” Hence what he says, “gazing on incorruptibility,” does not signify that he has already put on immortality, or incorruptibility, but the present incorruption that they experience in themselves and see; for “gazing on” is the same as “observing” and looking at their incorruption. By which too they can be said, as it were, in some sign and participation to gaze on their incorruption, and to give hope thereof in that, if God so conserves mortal men, he can easily be believed also to be able to raise the dead to immortal life, for this is what Irenaeus there is intending to prove.
spacer 11. In addition, Tertullian in his book Contra Iudaeos. ch. 2 .writes thus of Enoch: “He has translated most just Enoch, uncircumcised, from this world, who has not yet tasted death, as candidate for eternity.” Where the fact he is a candidate does not signify that he is already in eternity, but that he is close to it and is aspiring to it, having as it were a certain sign of it, for this does the word ‘candidate’ properly signify. Hence the same Tertullian in De Anima ch. 50 says, “Enoch and Elijah have been translated, nor has their death been found, namely it has been put off. Moreover, they are preserved as going to die, so that they may extinguish Antichrist with their blood.” By entreating God, surely, for their martyrdom, so that he might kill Antichrist with the spirit of his mouth. What is it, then, that the King of England says, that Tertullian plainly denies Enoch will die, when he admits it in such express words in this place? Nor is Tertullian contrary to himself because he called Enoch a “candidate for eternity” because, as I said, to be a candidate for eternity is not to have been translated into eternity but to be aspiring to eternity. Hence the king’s argument is frivolous when he says, “Badly now does he have the right of eternity confirmed for him if he is going to die again.” For he can have a confirmed right of obtaining eternity in his time, although he is going to die, just as Christ had while he lived in mortal life; and the just confirmed in grace can have the right of eternity, that is, to eternity confirmed, although they are first going to die. Thus, therefore, can Enoch have a confirmed right of eternity, although he is going to die, because he is without doubt confirmed and preordained in grace, so that through martyrdom he should pass to eternity, as in this latter place Tertullian said. And thus he joined both together in his book De Resurrectione Carnis, ch. 58, where of Enoch and Elijah he says, “Not yet checked off for resurrection, because neither having discharged death, but because translated from the world and by this very fact already candidates for eternity, they are getting to know the immunity of the flesh from all vice and from all injury and insult.” Of which opinion the sense is clear, that they are not yet checked off for resurrection, because they have not yet reached to that perfection of glory of their bodies that they will after death and resurrection obtain; but by translation they have attained another kind of immunity from the effects and injuries of mortality, by reason of which are they said to be candidates for eternity. Hence he subjoins: “By what faith then do they give testimony, except that by which these teachings of future integrity must be believed?”
spacer 12. Over Epiphanius I do not delay, but I frankly admit that, wherever he touches on talk about Enoch and Elijah, he only says that they are not dead and that they are still alive giving testimony to eternity and the future perpetual duration of bodies; but whether they are afterwards going to come or to die he does not treat of, nor does he define either of them, as can be seen Contra Haereses 9 and Contra Haereses 64, immediately after the fragment from Methodius, and in Anchoratus towards the end. I come to Jerome, whose opinion is clearer on this matter, for in epist. 148 to Marcella, treating of the place of Paul 1 Thessalonians 4 about those, v. 17, “who shall be caught up…to meet the Lord in the air,” he says: “You wish to know whether they run to meet him in their bodies, so that they do not die first, although even our Lord died and Enoch and Elijah are, according to the Revelation of John, said to be going to die, lest, that is, there be anyone who has not tasted death.” And at epist. 61 to Pammachus, against the errors of John of Jerusalem towards the end, he says that “Elijah and Enoch are not yet dead, and they possess, inhabitants of paradise, the limbs with which they were taken up and translated &c.” And although he does not make clear what will later happen to them, he indicates sufficiently that they have not been translated to celestial glory but are divinely conserved in paradise, with the same bodies and of the same quality. Which he makes more clear later when he says, “For so great a time they remain at the same age at which they were taken up, and they have teeth and a stomach and yet they do not need food.”
spacer 13. Next, Augustine too eloquently uncovered his opinion on this point and delivered the true doctrine of the faith in De Peccat. Merit. et Remiss. I.3 where, when he had said that Adam was mortal in paradise, although he was not going to die had he not sinned, he adjoins, “I think that such condition, yet in animal and mortal body, has been conceded also to those who were translated hence without death. For neither are Enoch and Elijah withered by old age for such long life, nor yet do I believe that they have already been changed into that spiritual quality of body such as is promised in the resurrection, which went first before in our Lord.” The same Augustine treats of it more extensively in De Genes. ad Litteram IX.6 where he says:, “Nor must it be thought that Elijah is already such as the saints will be when, their day of labor finished, they will receive their denarius, or that he is such as are men who have not yet departed this life, from which life however he departed, not by death, but by translation.” And later he says that the same must be thought of Enoch, and about both he concludes, “Enoch and Elijah, dead in Adam, and bearing in the flesh the offspring of death, which debt, in order to pay, they are believed to be yet going to return to this life and, which has long been put off, going to die.” And other places we will refer to below that assuredly, if the king had seen, he would not have asserted that Jerome and Augustine denied only that Enoch and Elijah were dead but did not affirm that they were going to die, for they eloquently affirm both, and confirm it from the general rules of faith.
spacer 14. To these Fathers can Ambrose be added who in De Paradis., ch.3, says, to begin with, that Enoch did not see death, and he says the same of Elijah at De Abele I.2. However, on 1 Corinthians 4, when expounding the words, v, 9: “For I think that God hath set forth us apostles last,” he says, “Therefore does he attribute this to his person, because he was always in necessity, having suffered persecutions and oppressions beyond the rest, just as Enoch and Elijah will suffer, who at the last time will be apostles. For they have to be sent before Christ to prepare the people of God and to fortify all the churches to resist Antichrist, and they, the reading of Revelation testifies, suffer persecution and are killed. And he had said almost the same on 1 Thessalonians 5. But if anyone perhaps does not acquiesce in this testimonies, because it is not certain the work is of Ambrose, we say, to begin with, that it cannot be denied but that it is of some grave and sufficiently ancient expositor. Next, we add an indubitable work of Ambrose, tractat. De Symbolo, where he says, ch.23, “Elijah and Enoch are the witnesses of the resurrection, who for so many circles of years, and up to the second coming of our Lord Christ, will remain perpetually in the flesh.” And then in De Fide IV.1 he expressly says, “Enoch was translated, Elijah taken up, but the servant is not above the Master; for no one has ascended to heaven except he who descended from heaven. For Moses too, although his body did not appear on earth, we yet nowhere read is in celestial glory, except after our Lord, by the pledge of his resurrection, broke the chains of hell and raised up the souls of the pious. Enoch then was translated, Elijah taken up, both servants, both with the body, but not with resurrection, not with the booty of death &c.” that is, not with the glory of those who are resurrected, nor with the dowries of glory, which are as it were the spoils of the death and the cross of Christ.
spacerIX.3, elsewhere ch. 4, speaks thus of Enoch and Elijah: “Hence it is that those two outstanding preachers have, with death delayed, been removed, so that they may at the end be called back for the use of preaching. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks. One of whom Truth promises through himself in the Gospel, ‘Elijah will come and will restore all things,’” Matthew 17:11; and XIV.11 at the end, elsewhere 12 at the beginning, he says, “They who went before in the former parts of the world, Enoch and Elijah, will be called back to the center, and the fierceness of his cruelty (that is, of Antichrist) they will suffer in their still mortal flesh:” where I note the phrase “in their still mortal flesh,” because by it he signifies that they are now living in that mortal flesh; and XXIX.25, : “And if Enoch was taken up into heaven, he has delayed death, not avoided it.” And in homil. 29 on the Gospels he says that “Elijah was taken into the airy heaven, so that he might be led into some secret region of the earth, where in great quiet of flesh and spirit he might live, until what time he returns at the end of the world and pays the debt of the flesh. For he has delayed death, not avoided it.” Lastly Cyprian in his bookå De Montibus Syna et Sion contra Iudaeos, not far from the beginning, says that Enoch was translated living to a place that God knows, and that at the end of the world he will come from that place to confound Antichrist, whence he evidently supposes that he is not in glory but lives rather in mortal flesh.



1. Enoch and Elijah, because they are not dead, are signified to be going to come to face Antichrist. spacer2. This conjecture is proved from the tradition of the Fathers. spacer3. Response of the king. spacer 4. The words of the king are weighed one by one. spacer5. The king supposes without foundation that this prophecy of John has been fulfilled. spacer6 - 7. Against pp. 63 and 129 of his Preface. spacer8. Satisfaction is made to the foundation of the king. spacer9. It is a thing more curious than useful to want to know where Enoch and Elijah are. spacer10. It is more probable that they are leading a life in the terrestrial paradise. spacer11. Again, it is more probable that the terrestrial paradise has not been overthrown.

ROM the attack, then, on this error a very compelling reason is gathered to prove that those two witnesses will be Enoch and Elijah even if, for confirming it, we had to hand no other testimony from Scripture. For if Elijah and Enoch are not living in glory, nor have immortal bodies, but are being divinely maintained for so many years preserved from death and corruption, why, I ask, has so signal a miracle been done and so extraordinary a kind of providence except because the life of those men has not yet been completed, and some signal work is left for them to do in this life, on account of which they are being kept by God, and so that they may in their mortal bodies suffer something for his glory? Therefore, when other testimonies are lacking, a great argument is thence taken that they are being kept to resist Christ’s greatest enemy, Anœtichrist, and to come to the aid of Jews and Gentiles in their greatest peril and at a time of the greatest necessity, and to undergo a signal death for Christ. Therefore, although the Evangelist John does not name them, he sufficiently points to them when he says, Revelation 11:3, “I will give to my witnesses,” supply spirit or virtue, and “they shall prophesy.” In which way of speaking he gestures that those witnesses do not need to be created or produced anew but already exist, and that they are then to be sent with the spirit of prophecy &c. Rightly then do we understand that those witnesses will be Enoch and Elijah.
spacer 2. With which conjecture agrees the common tradition of the Fathers. For Tertullian, Cyprian, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Gregory expressly hand this on in the places mentioned. And again Gregory homil.12 on Ezekiel, and Ambrose when expounding Revelation, Augustine tractat. 4 on John specifically about Elijah, and De Civitate Dei XX.29, in treating of the same, has these notable words when he says that “it is a thing most frequent in the hearts and mouths of the faithful” that Elijah will come before the judgment and that through him the Jews will believe in the true Christ. The same is handed on about Elijah by Justin Martyr in his Dialogus contra Tryphon when he says that Elijah will in person be the precursor of the second coming of Christ just as the spiritual Elijah was precursor of the first coming. The same is said of Elijah by Dorotheus in his Synopsis, “Against Antichrist is kept a leader of war, who will oppose himself to him and refute his seduction and pride, who has received from God that he should be the precursor of the second and illustrious coming of the Lord.” The same is extensively taught about Elijah by Julianus Pomerianus Book I De Judaeis before the middle, and by Chrysostom homil. 4 on 2 Thessalonians. “Elijah,” he says, “will come, confirming the faithful,” and other things he pursues which we will consider in the following chapter. St. Prosper in Dimid. Temporis ch.13 expounds of Enoch and Elijah that place of Revelation. Damascene says very well at De Fide IV.27, “Enoch and Elijah the Tishbite will be sent and shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children [Malachi 4:6], that is, the synagogue to our Lord Jesus Christ and to the preaching of the apostles; and they will be slaughtered by him [sc. Antichrist].” The same is handed on by Theodoret on Daniel 12 and Malachi 4. The same, next, is commonly handed on by expositors of Revelation 11, especially Andreas of Caesarea in his ch. 30, who says that most of the doctors took Elijah and Enoch for those witnesses, whom he himself is following; and he says that it is from a tradition of the heralds of Christ unwaveringly received in the Church. Bede, next, agrees, and Anselm and Thomas of England, who is wont to be known by the name of St. Thomas. We will also add more Fathers in the following chapter.
spacer 3. But to all of them the King of England in a single word, sufficiently alien to a Catholic mind, replies saying, “Since we have happened into this discussion about the ancient Fathers, allow me by this occasion, I beg, to admonish you by the by that it is no wonder if the Fathers here rather often err and understand less correctly many mysteries of Revelation, for the reason that the book was in their times still sealed; and although the mystery of iniquity was already then working, that man of sin, however, had not yet been revealed. For in the case of all obscure prophecies the most certain rule is that they can never be sufficiently understood until the time they are completed.” And he later subjoins words very harsh, “So far am I from believing this futile and old wives’ tale that, on the contrary, in this so learned age, I hold him who believes this (I call God to witness), not just for a theologian of great name, but not even for a Christian, that rather I associate him with the Scribes and Pharisees who were so mad that, although Christ taught the contrary, they dreamt that Elijah nevertheless was always going to come. But I am more level, for the reason I mentioned above, than the old theologians who erred on this point.” These are the words of the king, with whom we can justly remonstrate, so that we may ponder the weight, reason, consistency, and truth of such words.
spacer 4. For, to begin with, that he dares to reprehend so many and so signal Fathers is little consonant with the promise he first made. Next, although a prophecy not yet fulfilled is wont to be obscure with respect to diverse circumstances and to what is foretold only through enigmas and metaphors, nevertheless in the things that have regard to the substance of the prophecy and that are revealed through its proper words, it is not wont to be so obscure but that it should at least be known to the whole Church and to the wise doctors therein. For who would say that the prophecies about the future coming of Christ, before they were fulfilled, were not understood by the wise in the people of God, at least as to the substance of the article about the future coming of the Messiah and the signal future Prophet? Also as to other circumstances expressly foretold and in proper words, as that he would be born in Bethlehem of a Virgin and the like? So therefore we say in the present case, let it be that the Book of Revelation is sealed and obscure as to many things therein revealed as long as they are not fulfilled; nevertheless some things have with sufficient clearness been foretold in proper words, in expounding which the common consent of the Fathers does not err. Others indeed, although they are obscure, are illustrated by consonance and comparison with other clearer prophecies, and also in expounding these the Fathers do not err, when by common consent they hand on, as a certain ecclesiastical dogma, the same sense. For when a prophecy is so obscure and unique that it can be said to be sealed, even the Fathers themselves do not hand on their expositions as certain, but use conjectures, and so they do not in their case as a rule agree. But in the present case the prophecy of Revelation is sufficiently clear about the two witnesses, at least in general, that they will be men and prophets, as was shown in the preceding chapter; but from other Scriptures and the agreement of them all, the Fathers conclude, with almost unanimous consent and great earnestness and certitude, that those witnesses will be Enoch and Elijah; therefore it cannot, without great audacity (not to say anything more serious), be said that they have in this respect erred.
spacer 5. Besides, the reason or excuse of the king presupposes a worse error, for he says that the understanding of that prophecy was hid from the Fathers because it had not yet been fulfilled, but he supposes it fulfilled that the Pope is Antichrist, and that either the two Testaments, corrupted by the Roman Church, or Luther, Calvin, or the like apostates are those two promised witnesses. Which supposition the king neither does prove nor can prove, because it has neither vestige nor shadow of truth but the calumny and imposture of the Protestants, as is clear from what has hitherto been said and as will be further illustrated and confirmed in what follows.
spacer 6. In addition, if that book has already been unsealed to the king, how is it he always moves about in conjectures when he tries to expound it, and hands down that the whole disputation about Antichrist is so obscure and involved that it can compel no one to belief, nay and also calls his own opinion merely conjecture? Assuredly, after there is certainty about the prophecy from the event and because it has been fulfilled, it is no longer ambiguous or conjectural, because what was foretold by it is to be believed, not only with opinion, but with certain faith. But if perhaps he says that he does not believe with certain faith that the prophecy of John about Antichrist has been fulfilled, but that he only thinks this thing itself by some sort of conjecture, and thereupon that his whole exposition is merely conjectural; assuredly, if he so responds, he is convicted, to begin with, of wrongly affirming that the book has now in these times been unsealed, or that the man of sin has been revealed, and that the prophecy about him has been so fulfilled that it can now be sufficiently understood. For that which human conjecture affirms has been neither revealed nor sufficiently understood. Hence with surely greater reason we can conjecture, nay even gaze upon and say, that the king errs when he says that he understands the mysteries of this book, the which, as he himself says, the Fathers could not attain to.
spacer 7. Next I ask why he does not hold him for a Christian who believes the aforesaid opinion about Enoch and Elijah? For if he himself is in this whole disputation led only by conjectures, can it be that he who does not believe the conjectures and dreams of the Protestants, who are seducing the King of England, is not a Christian? He will say that for this reason is he not to be held a Christian, that he does not believe Christ saying that Elijah has already come, and that therefore he hopes along with the Jews that he will still come; for this the king signifies in his words. But assuredly Christ had already from the beginning of the Church given his testimony about Elijah, and yet the Fathers constantly taught that opinion about Enoch and Elijah; therefore, if he is speaking consistently he must not hold any of those Fathers for Christians because, although (as he wishes) they do not understand Revelation, they ought at any rate to have faith in the words of Christ. But if it was licit for them, without loss of Christianity, to understand the words of Christ otherwise than the king interprets them, why will it not also be licit for us to think with the Fathers rather than with the king about the sense of Christ’s words and to have faith in them? We conclude, therefore, that not only with preservation of Christianity, but also according to the sound faith of a Christian man and according to true and serious theology, one must believe and must hope that Elijah will come; but to make the thing plainer, we will more diligently consider the words or Christ and of the prophets in the following chapter.
spacer 8. First, however, it is necessary to make satisfaction to the king’s foundation, which supposes Enoch and Elijah already to have glorified bodies, and for that reason he frankly admits that “it exceeds his grasp how it could be consistent with theology or reason that they should descend from heaven, should preach, and should fight against Antichrist; that they should be killed by him after they were for many thousands of years exempt from the curse of death.” He confirms this with the dilemma given above, that they are either in heaven or in paradise, and he attacks both. Then he adds, “Since their bodies have been so long free of sin, they have no need of harsh treatment, and there is, thereupon, no reason they should appear clothed in sackcloth.” But, to begin with, it matters very little to us that he affirm the Catholic opinion exceeds his grasp; for that, to be sure, is not so much born from the depth of the mystery or the difficulty of the thing as from preconceived error or from defect of theology. For he apprehends that the bodies of Elijah and Enoch are already glorified, and for that reason he does not grasp that they might come again to preach, to fight, and to die. Let him put aside his error, then, and he will easily grasp the rest. But I add that God could recall even glorified bodies to the state of mortality and commit all the aforesaid things for them to do and suffer; just as he could catch up Paul to the third heaven or, as grave doctors affirm, raise him up to the vision of the divine essence, and afterwards take him back to the common condition of wayfarers. However, that miracle is not now necessary for us, because for us it is certain that those bodies are not glorified. For why does the king not believe this? From this perhaps, “because for many thousands of years Enoch and Elijah were exempt from the curse of death under which all by nature lie.” But this is of no moment; for it is easy for God to preserve, for however long he wishes, a mortal body from death, without the dowries of glory, just as would have been given, did Adam not sin, to everyone in the state of innocence. With whom Augustine, in the places above citied, compares Enoch and Elijah, rightly distinguishing between the immortal body that cannot die and the mortal body that, although it could die, does, by the special providence or operation of God, not die for a long time. But of Enoch and Elijah Scripture never said that they could not die, but that they have hitherto not yet died; why then does the king not grasp that it can be and will be that they should sometime return among men and die?
spacer 9. Now when he asks wherever it is they are, we first reply with the Fathers that the question is more curious than necessary for grasping and defending the other things of the faith or the dogmas of theology. For God could conserve them where he wished and, wherever they are, he could thence restore them to this lower world. Thus Augustine, De Peccat. Origin. II.23, among the questions that are dealt with on condition of saving the faith, and wherein we either use conjectures or suspend judgment because of ignorance, he puts this one about “Where now are Enoch and Elijah whom yet we do not doubt live in the bodies in which they were born.” Chrysostom too homil. 21 on Genesis says of Enoch, “If someone in curiosity ask and say, ‘whither has he translated him?’, let him learn that it fits not human minds to explore more curiously the things done by God &c.” And like things are contained in his homil. 22 on Hebrews at the end of the letter. Next we say that perhaps they have been translated to some heavenly place where they are immune from the alterations and impressions of the elements, even if they have not been drawn up to the empyrean heaven, which is held to be the proper seat of glorified bodies. For the words of Scripture are not discordant with this way of speaking, nor does the thing itself have much difficulty or wonder. For what the king infers as it were in mockery and as absurd, that they are to be “running about hither and thither between heaven and earth in the manner of tree gardens” is frivolous and worthy of derision. For if the angels daily ascend to heaven and descend for the salvation of men, if Christ himself, after he once ascended, will descend again to judgment and rise again to reign, what marvel that two men, elected by God for an extraordinary work and ministry, should have been once translated and should return again to fulfill their course and ministry, and should finally return to heaven in consummation?
spacer 10. Next, we judge it more probable that they are in the earthly paradise where Adam was placed, as Athanasius said in his epistle for the Synod of Nicaea near the beginning, and about Enoch it is signified in the book of Wisdom, as we will see in the following chapter, where we will also confirm this further. Nor is there any repugnancy in what is written about Elijah, that he was seen borne into heaven, for as Gregory rightly said, homil. 29 on the Gospels about the airy heaven, it must not be understood of the ethereal heaven. But as to what the king says, “it is blasphemous to believe that since the time Adam was expelled from that paradise anyone of Adam’s posterity has arrived thither,” if it be understood about him who should say that anyone by his own virtue or industry or labor can reach or enter thither, it would rightly be said. But if it be understood of him who attributes this to divine virtue and gift or dispensation, it is not only said without foundation but is also worthy, along with that censure, of a not dissimilar censure, that it is against the opinion of the holy Fathers, which Scripture greatly favors, as I will immediately say. But as to what the king asks, so as to impugn this further, where is that paradise is, this pertains to questions indifferent, as Augustine also said above, and whatever be thought about it matters little to the present cause.
spacer 11. Next, as to what he adjoins that “the terrestrial paradise has without doubt been destroyed,” had he taken away that “without doubt,” it would be tolerable, because grave authors are not lacking who so think, and because it is not a damnable opinion, since it is not plainly contrary to the Scriptures, or common tradition, or the sense of the Church. But that it be so ‘without doubt’ is said without foundation, because the king can show no place of Scripture by which he may take away all doubt from the assertion. Nay rather, it is far more probable that paradise was not destroyed by the water of the flood, but has up to now been preserved in its delight and beauty, and that there Elijah and Enoch live in a certain felicity of life, as Bernard rightly described it in serm. 3 & 6 De Ascens. Domini. And Augustine in the said ch. 23 De Peccat. Origin. said that with curiosity is the question asked “of what sort or where paradise is, where God established man, whom he formed from the dust, although however Christian faith does not doubt that that paradise exists.” Where he not only says that it did but that it does exist. However, about this question I have, to my ability, disputed elsewhere, and therefore I omit it; also because the present controversy does not depend on it. For although that paradise had been destroyed in the flood, God could have prepared a fitting place elsewhere for the state of those two prophets, or restored that very place or part of it to its pristine state, or at any rate to a delightfulness fitting those men. And finally, although now those witnesses live there happily and without sin, yet they will come clothed in sackcloth, not to make satisfaction for past sins, nor perhaps because they need harsh treatment of the flesh to avoid other sins, but for the example of the men then living, that they should show grief and sorrow (as Athanasius says).



1. By many other testimonies of Scripture it is proved that the two witnesses will be Enoch and Elijah. spacer2. It is shown first of Elijah. spacer3. King James interprets Malachi of the first coming of Christ and of John the Baptist.spacer 4. Malachi speaks in proper sense of the second coming of Christ. spacer5. In a literal sense, indeed, he speaks of Elijah as precursor of the second coming of Christ. spacer6. The same is more clearly proved from Ecclesiasticus ch. 48. This place Protestants destroy with insults because they cannot do it with reason. Other words from the same ch.48 are by the writer of Ecclesiasticus foretold about the same Elijah. spacer7. The exposition of the king is refuted. spacer8. Christ speaks of a double Elijah, one true, one mystical. spacer9. Christ did not reject the common opinion about the coming of Elijah. spacer10. The Baptist did not restore all things, since he converted few. Elijah by his first coming will convert few, by this second many. spacer11. John is metaphorically called Elijah by likeness to the true Elijah. spacer12. The Catholic opinion is confirmed by the authority of the Fathers. spacer13. The sayings of the Greek Fathers are put forward. spacer14. Bellarmine is defended. spacer15. The king’s opinion about Enoch. spacer16. Some appropriate reasons are adduced why another associate should be joined with Elijah. spacer17. Which associate is to be joined with Elijah. spacer18. It is very probable that Enoch will be the associate of Elijah. spacer19. The words of Ecclesiasticus are very much in favor. Elijah will be sent chiefly to convert the Jews and Enoch chiefly the Gentiles.

ING James in his Preface confidently affirms that “no word is found in Scripture to support either that Enoch and Elijah will return and will fight with Antichrist and must be killed in the same conflict, or that they will suffer anything the like.” Now to show this, he runs through the places of Scripture wherewith not only Bellarmine, whom he himself accuses, but also the most ancient Fathers and all Catholics are wont to confirm that dogma; and he advances to respond to them all, nay and tries to prove that they who interpret the said places in this way “are acting in bad faith.” We, however, following the opinion of Catholics, assert that there are many testimonies in Scripture wherewith that true dogma is in such wise confirmed that, although they do not make it per se sure divine faith, nevertheless they do prove the aforesaid truth such that it can without fear be prudently believed, especially when is added the consent of the ancient Fathers and the interpretation of almost all expositors. And since we have already said enough of the place in Revelation, we will now run through the rest. And because those that speak of Elijah are clearer we will speak first of Elijah and after of Enoch.
spacer 2. We say first, then, that Elijah will come to be the precursor of the second coming of Christ, and to convert the remnants of Israel to Christ and turn them away from Antichrist, and in this way he will fight against Antichrist. This assertion is proved in the first place from the words of Malachi 4:5 - 6, “Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Which words were understood about the true Elijah in person, and about his mission before, and close to, the day of final judgment, by the more or less common consent of the ancient Fathers. Chrysostom homil. 58 on Matthew, and homil. 4 on 2 Thessalonians, Theodoret, orat. 90 on Daniel at the end about ch.12, Ambrose on 1 Corinthians 4 on that verse 9: “For I think that God &c.”, Augustine, De Civitate Dei XX.29, Gregory Moralia IX. 4, Prosper In Dimid. Temporis ch.13, Damascene, De Fide IV.28, Isisdore, De Vita et Morib. Sanctorum ch.35, and Julian Pomerius, Contra Iudaeos, Book I before the middle. Again the expositors on the same place, especially Cyril, Theodoret, and on the places of Matthew 11 and 17, especially Jerome, Euthymius, Theophylact, Anselm, and St. Thomas, and on Revelation ch.11 especially Aretas when he says, “And, certainly, that Elijah will come is manifest, since Scripture has predicted it, which is prophesied by Malachi, ‘Behold I will send you Elijah.’”
spacer 3. These things notwithstanding, however, the King of England judges this interpretation not only to be false but also a Jewish fable and hence heresy; and anyone who believes it he does not think to be a Christian because he contradicts the words of Christ. He says, therefore, that Malachi is not speaking of Elijah in person but in spirit; nor about the second coming of Christ but about the first, whose day he calls “great and dreadful” because of the day of the passion and death of the Lord, and accordingly that the prophecy has been fulfilled in John the Baptist. All of which he proves by the testimony of Christ in Matthew 11, where, having said many things about John, he adjoins, vv. 13 - 14, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.” What is clearer? And he adds ch. 17 when the disciples asked him, v.10, “Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?” he says in reply, vv. 11 - 12, “Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not.” And the Evangelist subjoins, v. 13, “Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.” Mark too has almost the like things in ch. 9, which we will consider later. And for this his opinion he only mentions a certain Bibliander, a heretic. But he could also adduce Jerome, who understands to be signified there by the name of Elijah, not only John the Baptist, but the whole chorus of prophets bearing testimony to Christ, and he adds that Christ in the Gospel understood John in Elijah; and Rupert there seems dubious about the sense of Malachi, although he at the same time says that many doctors, “with whom,” he says, “we almost all agree,” believe that Elijah will literally come and restore all things.
spacer 4. But I note that it is one thing to speak of the primary literal and most proper sense of Malachi, another of the secondary or mystical and spiritual sense. I say, then, that it cannot be denied but that the Prophet literally and in the most proper sense and in the appropriate name is speaking of the second coming of Christ and of the proper person of Elijah. The proof is first that Malachi, from the beginning of the chapter, is clearly speaking of the Day of Judgment, for he says about it, v.1, “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up &c.” Which words manifestly indicate that the discussion is about the day of wrath and of divine vengeance, before which will precede the fire that burns all things; which most properly agrees with the Day of Judgment, but in no way with the day, or the time, of the first coming of Christ. And in the whole of the following context, the same sense is proved. Thus too on this point neither the Hebrew nor the Catholic expositors or Fathers are in disagreement. Therefore, when he later says, v. 5, “I will send Elijah before the coming of the great and dreadful day,” he is speaking about the same Day of Judgment, which will be “great for the just, and horrible for sinners,” as Jerome says; for both the literal context and sequence demand this, and the propriety of the words sufficiently indicates it; the words of Joel 2 also agree. For just as Malachi said, “I will send Elijah before the coming of the great and dreadful day,” so Joel, after he has extensively depicted the things that precede the Day of Judgment saying, vv. 3, 10, 11: “a fire devoureth before him, the sun and moon shall be dark, the Lord shall utter his voice,” and the like, he concludes, v .11, “for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible;” therefore that great and horrible day in both places is the Day of Judgment. Which is also called ‘great’ by Zephaniah 1.14, and he admirably describes the horror of it when he says, vv. 14 - 15: “the voice of the day of the Lord; the mighty man shall cry there bitterly…a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress &c.” In like manner is the same day called “great” and “of wrath” by John, Revelation 6:17. The words of Malachi, then, are not rightly accommodated to the day of the passion of Christ, nor will there be found an ancient expositor or a saint who has understood it thus. And it is specially noted by Chrysostom, homil. 59 on Matthew when he considers the last words of Malachi, “lest I come and smite the earth with a curse,” which are rightly accommodated, not to the first coming of Christ, but to the second.
spacer 5. Hence, secondly, it happens that there too Malachi is speaking literally of Elijah and predicting that he will be the precursor of the second coming of Christ. Which is more confirmed by the interpreters of the Septuagint, “Behold, I will send Elijah the Tishbite,” as it is contained in the version of Jerome and the recently corrected Latin, and it is read by Cyril and Theodoret on Micah, and by Tertullian in bk. De Anima ch. 35, by Augustine, Euthymius, Aretas above; and by Chrysostom. homil. 38 and 58 on Matthew, who notes that added to the name of Elijah was the circumstance of his fatherland, so that ambiguity might be removed and it be noted that the discussion is about the proper person of Elijah.
spacer 6. Third, the same is proved from the words of Ecclesiasticus ch. 48, where from the beginning of the chapter the Sage is speaking of the prophet Elijah, and describes his signal sanctity, great prodigies, and marvelous signs, and his singular translation; and later he subjoins, v. 10. “Who art written down in the judgments of times to cool God’s anger, to reconcile the heart of the father to the son, and to restore the tribes of Jacob.” Where, I ask, is Elijah written down in this manner save in Malachi? Therefore Malachi is speaking about the same Elijah as the Sage is, and hence about the proper person of Elijah. To which words the King of England replies that, although it is clear Ecclesiasticus is alluding to the words of Malachi, Christ in interpreting Malachi also expounded Jesus ben Sirach. “Nor is it unbecoming,” he says, “for this mortal Jesus to be explained by the immortal and true Jesus, although to the shame and confusion of the heresy of the Jesuits.” And the like insults do the Protestants freely proffer when they can make neither probable nor likely the things they say. For who, when reading that chapter of Ecclesiasticus, would be persuaded that he is not from the beginning speaking of the true Elijah? For that Jesus had taken up the burden of praising glorious men, his forefathers, as he had said in ch. 44, and beginning from Enoch, through Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the other prophets, he reached Solomon at the end of ch. 47, and afterwards he begins in ch. 48:1 - 3, “And Elijah the prophet arose like fire, and his word like a burning torch, who brought a famine upon them,…and thrice threw down fire from heaven,” and other things that he is openly reporting historically, up to that verse 12, “When Elijah indeed was hidden by the whirlwind, Elisha was filled with his spirit.” And thereafter he pursues a discussion of Elisha. But in the middle of his narration he interposes those words about Elijah, “Who art written down in the judgments of times &c.” How likely is it, therefore, that the relative pronoun “who” does not refer to the proper person of that Elijah about whom, in the preceding and following words, the discussion was being weaved about Elijah? Or who would impose such an interpretation on Christ? Especially since in the same kind of locution it is said to him, vv. 5 - 9: “who raised a dead man from the netherworld; he threw down kings; who hearest judgment in Sinai; who anointest kings; who is taken up in a whirlwind of fire,” and immediately, “who art written down.”
spacer 7. I rather suspect that under the word “explain” the king understood the word “emend” or “correct,” and that therefore he said that it was not unbecoming for the mortal Jesus “to be explained,” that is, “corrected” and “emended” by the immortal Jesus, thinking that the mortal Jesus had not rightly understood the words of Malachi, and therefore was that Jesus explained by the immortal Jesus otherwise than he himself thought. For since the king thinks that book is not canonical, he may easily admit in it what could be emended. But although this would not be unbecoming for a mortal man speaking from himself, it would however be unbecoming for the Holy Spirit who was speaking through him, as the true faith teaches when it proposes to us that book as canonical. Such royal interpretation, then, cannot be a shame to the Jesuits; let the king see whether it be an honor to himself. Nor is by it any heresy refuted that, by the grace of God, could hitherto with truth be noted in the Jesuits; but rather is that interpretation proved to involve heresy, because either it thinks badly of the book of Ecclesiasticus, or certainly it attributes, not interpretation, but corruption of its words to Christ.
spacer 8. Fourth, that Malachi spoke of the person of Elijah we prove from the very words of Christ in Matthew 17 where, when the disciples asked what it was that the scribes were saying, that Elijah must first come, that is before the coming of the Messiah, Christ replied to them by saying first, v. 11, “Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.” But then he adds a second thing, namely, v. 12, “But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall the also the Son of man suffer of them.” From which context I gather, first, that Christ spoke of a double Elijah, for of one he says, “he shall come,” but of the other he says “he is come already;” about the first again he says that “he shall restore all things,” but about the other he does not say this, but rather that he was badly treated and as it were contemned by the Jews, because they did not believe him but “have done unto him whatsoever they listed.” Next, he tacitly indicates his own double advent: one in which he was to suffer of the Jews, before which the spiritual Elijah came, about whom he had in the immediate place been speaking; the other in which he will come, not to suffer, but to complete all things, before which Elijah proper will come, about whom he therefore predicted that “he shall restore all things.” According to which sense the sum or paraphrase of Christ’s response is: It is true indeed that the true and proper Elijah will come, not now however, but at the time when all things must be restored and completed. But I say to you that there is another spiritual Elijah, who has already come as precursor of this my advent, wherein I came to suffer for men, by whom he was also himself badly and faithlessly treated.
spacer 9. Now that this is the true and literal sense of Christ’s words I show, first, because it is simplest and most consonant with the context and propriety of the words, which propriety should be kept, except where the metaphor is clear, and so let it be here. For in the first sentence both the name of Elijah and the future verb “shall come” are understood properly, and we will immediately explain the same about the words “restore all things.” But in the second part the name of Elijah is expounded spiritually, because Christ himself made it so plainly clear that the disciples understood the sense, but all the other words are retained in their propriety. Add that in the former words Christ plainly nods assent to the Scribes’ opinion, which was in that people common and much received, and he approves it as true, namely, that Elijah the prophet will come. Nor did he ever indicate that they were deceived who understood that prophecy of the prophet Elijah. But afterwards, as if adding a new mystery that does not destroy the letter and truth of the prophecy, but raises it to a spiritual sense, he adds, “But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not.” Since, then, this is the plain sense, without cause does the King of England labor to overturn it, saying that Christ in the first part used the future word ‘shall come’, not by affirming, but by referring to what the prophet had said, and that later he added the past ‘is [has] come’, so as to explain the prophecy and to teach that it was already fulfilled. But assuredly he applies great violence to the words, “But he answered and said, Elias shall truly come;” for these are not the words of one referring but of one affirming and consenting. Nor were the disciples doubting whether the prophet had said it, but whether it would be, and he responded that indeed it would be; and nevertheless he adds that, in another spiritual way, Elijah has already come. For thus did Paul 2 Thessalonians 2 say of Antichrist, v. 7. “ the mystery of iniquity doth already work,” and about the same he subjoins, v. 8 “and then shall that Wicked be revealed”; thus can we understand that Christ said that Elijah had already come in mystery, but was still going to come in person. And this is made more clear in Mark 9, where he first reports that Christ said, v. 12,“Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things.” And later he subjoins, v. 13, “But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed [also] come;”; where the former words are very clearly said by way of affirming, and not of referring, and in the latter the word “‘also” denotes a distinction of one Elijah from another, and of a double coming too.
spacer 10. Second, the said exposition is confirmed because it very well agrees with other places of Scripture, wherein the talk is about Elijah proper who will come, and of the spiritual Elijah who has already come. For where there is talk is about the Elijah proper who will come, of him it is said that “he will convert men to God,” or that “he will appease the anger of God,” and in this way too Christ attributes to him that “he shall restore all things,” by which word ‘all’ he embraced what Malachi and Ecclesiasticus had in other words said. Nor can those words be rightly accommodated to John the Baptist, since by his preaching he profited the Jews little. But as for what the Calvinists respond, that he has restored all things because he preached Christ who restored all things, is frivolous and very distorted. Both because the phrase “shall restore all things” signifies the efficacy and future effect of the preaching of Elijah himself at the same time and in itself, as is plainly clear from the propriety of the words. And also because otherwise any preacher of Christ might be said to restore all things, even if by his preaching he profit nothing; which is ridiculous. Finally also because, when Malachi says of Elijah “he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,” it cannot be expounded that he will preach him who will do the converting; nay, neither will we rightly expound by saying that he will so preach that it be sufficient for converting; but the plain sense is that he will effectively convert, or he will so preach that he does convert; for this is the force of the verb, and this the words of God declare that are subjoined by the same prophet, “lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” In this way, then, did Christ say “he shall restore all things,” in that, although the Jews did not believe the first Elijah and departed from the true Christ in his first coming, they will be restored by the second Elijah, according to that verse of Isaiah 10 and of Paul Romans 9:27. “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.” But the other part about the spiritual Elijah concords with the words of the same Christ in Matthew 11:14. “if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come,” that is, he will exercise with you the ministry of Elijah, which will be to convert men, especially Jews, to Christ. But because it could not be perfected without their consent, therefore did he say “if ye will receive it,” as Chrysostom and Theophylact noted. And Jerome says: “This which was said, ‘if ye will receive it, he is Elias himself,’ that it is mystical and needs understanding is shown by the following speech of the Lord, when he says, ‘He that hath hears to hear, let him hear’,” that is, let him who can understand attend and perceive the higher sense of the words. For just as the angel foretold of John, Luke 1, that he will come, v .17, “in the spirit and power of Elias,” thus in the present case is he said to be Elijah.
spacer 11. Third, the metaphor itself, whereby the name of Elijah is attributed to John, indicates about the proper person of that prophet, on whom that name was first imposed, that it was predicted he will have to be sent as precursor of some coming of Christ and will preach to the Jews so that they be converted to Christ; for because in this office John is likened to Elijah, there is he himself named Elijah, as going to come in the spirit and power of Elijah. Just as the same Luke declared in ch. 1 by adding, v. 17, “to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,” alluding to the place of Malachi, as is clear from the words themselves, and as, in addition to the expositors there, Augustine notes, tract. 4 on John, when he says that John spoke in the spirit of Elijah, because he was in the first coming what Elijah will be in the second. The same by Gregory in homil.7 on the Gospels. The metaphor itself of Elijah attributed to John, then, indicates that the former prophecy was foretold literally of Elijah proper. Which is also thus confirmed, because when the angel said he shall come “in the spirit and power of Elias,” he plainly distinguishes Elijah from John; therefore he supposes that Elijah will come “in spirit and power, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children &c.,” and hence supposes that, of the Elijah distinct from John, similar words had been before predicted. Wherefore, although we grant that the words of Malachi are sometimes brought forward about John the Baptist, as if he was predicted in them, the thing would have to be understood in a spiritual sense, perhaps intended also by the Holy Spirit; but the proper literal sense is not to be excluded, which is in many other ways evidently proved. Just as when John adduces those words about Christ, John 20:36, “A bone of him shall not be broken,” the proper literal sense is not excluded whereby it is signified that in type it had been literally kept, as Augustine observed, tractat. 20 on John, and Chrysostom, homil. 84. In this way too, although the words of Malachi are accommodated in a spiritual sense to John, their propriety must be kept literally. For of John it had been literally foretold by the same Malachi 3L1: “Behold I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me.” Which words Christ first reported in Matthew 11 as having been said properly about John, hence he gives as preface, v.10,“this is he of whom it is written &c.” but afterwards he brings in the place of Malachi far otherwise, or rather he alludes to him by attribution, or accommodates the words in a spiritual sense to John.
spacer 12. Lastly, by the authority of the Fathers this exposition of the Lord’s words is proved. For Jerome on Matthew 11 says that John is mystically called Elijah because of likeness, and he adds that just as Elijah will be, according to Malachi, the precursor of the second coming of Christ, so John was the precursor of the first. For although there he only refers to this opinion as the opinion of others, yet he puts it in the last place and tacitly approves it; but on Matthew 17 he supposes as true the tradition of the Hebrews about the true Elijah’s future coming as precursor of the second advent, and he afterwards thus expounds the words of Christ, “He himself, who will come in the second advent of our Savior according to faith of body, comes now through John in truth and spirit.” And Augustine, . 83 Quaest. q.58, says, “In the second coming the Lord will come in glory, of whose advent Elijah is hoped for as precursor, as John was of the first; and therefore is it said by the Lord, ‘Elijah is already come, and men have done many things to him, and if you will receive it, he is John the Baptist, who is to come.’ Because he is in the same spirit and in the same virtue and as it were in the office of a preceding herald; and the latter has already come, but the former will come.” Where he very clearly expounds that Christ spoke of a double Elijah, a true and a mystical. And in bk. I Quaest. Evangelicar. q. 21, he understands about the true Elijah those words of the Lord: “Elias indeed shall come;” and as to what is added, “and shall restore all things,” he expounds: “he will himself restore either those whom Antichrist’s persecution has confounded, or, by dying, what he owes.” The same in tractat.4 on John, as I reported above. And likewise Ambrose bk. I on Luke, on the words, 1:17, “and he shall go before in the spirit and power of Elias.” Among other reasons and likenesses he posits are,“Because the former is precursor of the first, the latter of the subsequent coming of the Lord.” And in Book. 2 De Virginibus at the beginning he says that, “Elijah, who was a virgin, was for that reason caught up to heaven, and,” he says, “he will be the precursor of the Lord’s coming.” Gregory too, Moralia XXXV.9, elsewhere ch. 6, understands it of the true Elijah, and he declares how he will restore all things when he says: “For now the Church has lost the Israelites, whom it was not able by preaching to convert, but then, at the preaching of Elijah, while he is collecting as many as he has found, the Church receives as it were more fully what it has lost.” And in the same way were the words of Christ understood by the same Gregory , Moralia XX.25, and homil.12 on Ezekiel.
spacer 13. In addition, Origen, tract. 3 on Matthew, after the question of the Apostles, “Why therefore do the Scribes say that Elijah must first come?” adds, “To this Jesus responds, not indeed by rejecting what had been handed on by the Scribes about Elijah, but he denotes that another coming of Elijah has happened before him, which the Scribes did not know.” And thus immediately he expounds the following words of Christ about a double Elijah, in person and in spirit, of whom one will come, the other has already come. Hence very well does Chrysostom, homil. 38 on Matthew 11 say:, Christ signified John, for both have undertaken one ministry, and both have been made precursors. Wherefore he did not say, he is assuredly Elijah, but, if you wish to receive it, this is &c.” and the rest that he there elegantly pursues, and more extensively and better in homil.58, where he expounds the words of Christ, “Elijah shall come,” about Elijah the Tishbite, of whom Malachi also had spoken. And homil .4 on 2 Thessalonians he likewise declares that John is said to be Elijah because of the ministry of precursor, wherein indeed he was like Elijah. And Theophylact on Matthew 17, expounding the words of Christ, he says:, “By saying that Elijah indeed shall come, he shows that he has not yet come, and that when he comes in the second advent he is going to restore to the faith of Christ all the Hebrews whom he will find open to persuasion &c.” Finally Tertullian, . De Anima ch.35 favors the same exposition, to pass over later authors, Bede, Anselm, and others, who thus understood the words of Christ.
spacer 14. What is it, then, that the King of England says, that there is nothing in the Scriptures that gestures that Elijah will come before the judgment? Surely it is not likely that so many Fathers have with so great concord come together in gathering this assertion from Scripture without a great and evident foundation in the same Scripture? Wherefore he is too extreme when he blames in Bellarmine the aforesaid interpretation of the words of Christ and calls it impudent, and says it is a paraphrase not to be borne, or that it was introduced cunningly and in very bad faith. For either he has not read the Fathers, or he blames them all cunningly and disguisedly in one Bellarmine and contrary to what he elsewhere professes; but both are intolerable and unworthy of the king. For the reason most of all that neither any reason nor any consideration of any moment about the words of Christ does he produce whereby he might impugn the received sense of the words of Christ; nor does he make satisfaction to the things that we have introduced in order to persuade him. Since, therefore, other testimonies of Scripture cannot be otherwise rightly understood, and the words of Christ in their best and plain sense are in harmony with them, and the common interpretation of the Fathers agrees, there should be no doubt but that Elijah will be the precursor of the second coming of Christ, and hence that he is one of the two witnesses foretold by John in Revelation.
spacer 15. But of Enoch, as if in mockery, the king speaks thus, “But Enoch must be yoked in this business together with Elijah, for no other purpose, if I mistake not, but to take up the yoke on the other side.” However, these witticisms and words of derision are jabs not only at Bellarmine (as the king pretends) but at all the Fathers, nay at the Evangelist John himself. For if the aforesaid words must be listened to, they not only mock and exclude Enoch but altogether every associate of Elijah in his preaching and advent. For it is thus that anyone could say: what need for someone else to be yoked together with Elijah except perhaps for taking up the yoke on the other side? Why then did John foretell that two witnesses and two prophets will come? Who has known the mind of the Lord, and who has been his counselor? Or who might demand of him a reason that he will send two witnesses and not one only, or more? Or why in his first coming he sent only one precursor, but in the second two? Or why for preaching the gospel he sent twelve apostles and not more, nor fewer, and at the end of the world he will be content with two witnesses against Antichrist? Futile then are little objections of this sort; for God, Ephesians 1:11, “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”
spacer 16. Although to someone who considers rightly, many reasons of this divine providence can at once occur. For in the first coming one precursor alone was sent because he was sent only to one people of the Jews and to one place of the earth, and at the time when that people was still continuing in the faith and was instructed in the teachings of the prophets, and therefore one outstanding witness, who would be, John 5:35, “a burning and a shining light”, seemed sufficient. But Elijah is to be sent to the Church now diffused through the whole world, and consisting of Gentiles and Jews, and at the time when they will scarcely find faith on the earth because of the enormous persecution of Antichrist, and therefore he will have some associate who will help to bear the yoke of gospel preaching and of the defense of Christ. So that there may be two candlesticks standing in the presence of the Lord, and illumining both peoples; and two olive trees from whom greater abundance of grace in a time of such great necessity might be communicated to the Church. Therefore the king greatly errs in doubting about the number of two witnesses, or by mocking it as if it lacked reason.
spacer 17. Now who that associate will be is not as tried and certain as that the other will be Elijah. Hence in what the king adds, that no place of Scripture speaks of the return of Enoch, he errs little. For Aretas too on Revelation 11, in his ch. 39, said:, “That Elijah will return is manifest; but about Enoch indeed we do not have from Scripture a testimony that has regard to his coming.” Hence it has happened that about this associate of Elijah Catholic doctors have had various opinions; for Victorinus, on Revelation 11 thought that Jeremiah would come with Elijah; but Hilary, canon.20 on Matthew, rejecting that opinion, associated Moses with Elijah, whose opinion some of the modern expositors on Matthew 17 have followed. But this office of prophesying along with Elijah at the time of Antichrist is attributed to the Evangelist John by others, along with Hippolytus, De Consumm. Mundi. Who, however, does not exclude Enoch, but adds John as a third. This, however, has no foundation and is repugnant to John himself, who makes mention of two witnesses only. Nor is it altogether credible that Moses, Jeremiah, or John should come with Elijah, because no trace or indication of that thing is contained in Scripture, and it is far more true that they are all dead and are now reigning with Christ; and therefore it is not likely that they will die again and need to be drawn away out of heaven from the beatific state so as to come down to fight with Antichrist, as we have more extensively treated of elsewhere.
spacer 18. It remains that we should altogether assert that Enoch will come with Elijah to be the other witness and preacher against Antichrist. For in affirming this opinion the gravest and almost all Fathers agree. Tertullian, De Anima ch .50, Augustine, De Genesi ad Literam IX.6, and De Mirabilib. Sacrae Script. I.3, Ambrose on 1 Corinthians 4, Damascene, De Fide IV.27, Bede, Anselm, and St. Thomas on Revelation, where also Andreas Caesar says that most of the doctors follow this opinion, and Aretas says that it is had from the tradition of the heralds of Christ. And the argument is a strong one, because Enoch is not dead but was translated, as Scripture teaches Genesis 5, hence it happens that at some time he will die, “because it is appointed unto men once to die,” from which rule he cannot with foundation be excepted. Therefore it is very likely that he is reserved for this end, so that he may come with Elijah and die for Christ.
spacer 19. Add the words of Ecclesiasticus 44:16, “Enoch pleased God and was translated to paradise, so as to give the Gentiles repentance.” Which words are by the Fathers understood of the earthly paradise, as I reported above. But the King of England contends that it is sufficiently expounded in this way, how he was placed as an example for men in the future, whereby they may be incited to do penance and follow God. Which exposition seems to be handed on by Theodoret, q. 45 on Genesis. And it could be tolerated if another were not being excluded, or if many other circumstances did not force one to interpret that something further is signified in those words. For if he was translated only as example, he would certainly have had to be transferred, not to the earthly paradise, but to the heavenly, nor would he have had to be kept in his mortal body on earth, but to be immediately crowned with glory and honor. Next, there were assuredly going to be few who would need to be moved to penance by that very distant and very hidden example; therefore some other mode of moving men to penance is there foretold. Finally, in that causal notice, “he was translated to paradise, so as to give the Gentiles (or the generations, as the Greek has it),” it is sufficiently indicated that he has been by a special providence preserved to excite men at some time to virtue and penance. Hence it is probable that not without mystery is “Gentiles” put there, because Elijah will be sent more to conversion of the Jews, but Enoch to recalling the lapsed among the Gentiles. This assertion, therefore, has in Scripture this sufficiently probable foundation, which, having been confirmed by the authority and conjecture of the Fathers, unless someone wishes willfully to turn his back, and to think more than he should, makes the thing sufficiently credible and morally certain.



1. King James tries to prove that Rome is the seat of Antichrist. spacer2. He is speaking of Rome itself, not of the pontifical throne. spacer3. Although Rome were the future seat of Antichrist, it was not thence rightly concluded that he will sit on the See of Peter.spacer 4. The King of England’s proofs. spacer5. Whether by the name of temple Paul understood the Church. spacer6. By temple can be understood the congregation of the faithful. Also can be understood churches, excluding the temple in Jerusalem; finally, any place dedicated to the divine cult. spacer7. Augustine thinks Antichrist himself is the said temple of God. spacer8. To the King of England is given the option of choosing whichever he likes of the said expositions. spacer9. From the king’s own exposition the conclusion is no more drawn that Antichrist will sit in the Roman temple than in any other. Response to the instance.spacer 10. The bosom of the Church is very ample, and does not include Rome only. The Pontiff does not advertise himself as God, but shows himself Vicar of Christ. spacer11. A second proof of the king from Revelation. spacer12. The woman should not be confounded with the beast. spacer13. If that woman is Rome, she is certainly pagan Rome, not Christian. The beast on which she rides signifies not Antichrist but the series of Gentile tyrants. spacer14. Confirmation from consideration of the words of ch. 17 of Revelation. spacer15. From this place cannot be gathered that Antichrist will fix his seat at Rome; rather is gathered that Rome must be overthrown by him. spacer16. The same is proved by a dilemma. spacer17. Conclusion.

E have as I think, sufficiently disputed of the time of the coming of Antichrist, and consequently of the witnesses who will come to preach against him; what follows is to speak of the seat of Antichrist, which is the second member of the disputation of the King of England, or the second place he rests for support to show that Antichrist is already sitting on his seat and his throne. However, neither is it thus expressly gathered by the king, nor would the inference be of any moment. For in two ways can the antecedent of that argument be understood; in one way about the See itself of the Roman Pontiff, insofar as it is the pontifical throne, whereon Antichrist is said to be going to sit; in another way only about the place of the Roman City, such that Antichrist will therein place his throne and the royal curia of his empire. Now the antecedent cannot be understood in the former sense, because the argument would be useless and beg the question; for it is the conclusion that the king is trying to prove, namely that Antichrist will sit, nay is also already sitting, on the pontifical and Roman See; if therefore the antecedent is understood in that sense as the foundation and principle of the argument, the conclusion to be proved would be being assumed, and the argument would be ridiculous.
spacer 2. It is necessary, then, that the king speak of the place itself of the Roman City and take for the foundation of his reasoning that Antichrist will locate the seat of his empire in that city, so that he may thence gather that the Roman Pontiff is Antichrist, because the pontificate has its see in the same city. And in this way the conclusion, considered in itself, is indeed frivolous, because in the same city diverse princes, very different in empire, morals, and title and mode of ruling, can place the seat of their empire, at least at diverse times. Nor can it for that reason be thence inferred that one empire is the other. Otherwise it could in the same way be inferred that Constantine was a Turk, because he placed the seat of his empire in the same city of Constantinople wherein the Turk is afterwards sitting. Nay, it could also be inferred that Peter and his successors before Boniface were Antichrist, because they had their See in the same Roman City.
spacer 3. Now although this condition of having the seat of empire in the same city is not enough for showing that he who sits is the same, nor that he has properly the same seat, that is, by the same title of ruling or the same power and dominion; nevertheless, it is a necessary condition; and therefore the king along with his Protestants strives greatly to show that this condition of fixing the seat at Rome agrees with the true Antichrist, so that therefrom, with other things added, they may infer that he who now sits in that city is Antichrist. But since, from what has hitherto been said, it is clear that the other conditions predicted about the time of Antichrist do not agree with him who now sits there, and since it must be shown in what follows that also other qualities and properties revealed about the person of Antichrist are not found in the Pontiff, there would, even if we should grant that Rome will be the place of the seat of Antichrist, be nothing of relevance for concluding that Antichrist either has come or is the Pontiff. Yet nevertheless, because that principle too, namely that Antichrist will sit at Rome, is false, we will in this chapter, so as to make more evidently clear how vain is that fiction or imposture about the antichristian seat having been or needing to be placed at Rome, consider the proofs of the king, and we will show that his assertion is false and repugnant to his own principles and expositions of Revelation; but later we will throw in a few things about the future seat of Antichrist.
spacer 4. That the Roman City will be the place of the antichristian seat is proved by the king on p. 64 of his Preface, first from Paul 2 Thessalonians 2, who says about Antichrist, v. 4, “so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” “That is,” says the king, “in the bosom and precisely in the innermost parts of the Church.” And he adds, “Already in what place the Apostolic See is I leave to anyone to work out; but also who is sitting in it conducting himself as God, condoning sins, defining articles of faith, censor and judge of all men, himself to be judged by no one.” In which words this argument is virtually contained. Antichrist will sit in the Church, which is the temple of God; therefore his seat will be in the bosom and innermost parts of the Church, that is, in the chief and, so to say, the more intimate part of it; therefore it will be at Rome; therefore the Apostolic See, which is there, is the seat of Antichrist. He proves virtually this final inference, “since he who sits there shows himself that he is God.” Thus far the king.
spacer 5. In this argument, to begin with, we do not stop at the antecedent, insofar as it has been by us presented and virtually contains the exposition, that Paul understood the Church by the temple of God. For this sense does not contain error but rather is probable; for Jerome in his epist. 151 to Algas. q.11, prefers that sense to others, and he is followed by Hugo Eterianus, De Regres. Anim. ch. 23; and this sense is approved by Oecumenius on that place in such way that he excludes others when he says, “He does not mean the temple that was at Jerusalem, but the Church of God.” Other Greeks indeed sometimes insinuate that Paul is not speaking only of the temple at Jerusalem but also of the churches of Christ, indicating that he does not exclude the first. For which opinion Chrysostom is cited on 2 Thessalonians 2 when he says, “He will command that he be placed in the temple of God, not at Jerusalem only, but also in the churches.” For thus Musculus translates in the Venetian edition for the year 1549, but in the new Paris editions for the years 1581 and 1588, with Germanus Hervetus the translator, the word “only” is not read, nor is “churches” in the plural, but rather in the singular, in this manner: “He will command to worship him as God, and he will sit in the temple of God, not the one in Jerusalem, but in the temple of the Church.” Theophylact, however, seems to have read or expounded Chrysostom otherwise, when he says: “Not in the temple specifically, which is in Jerusalem, but in churches simply, and in every divine temple.” In Theodoret too I do not find the exposition exclusive, according to the version of the same Germanus Hervetus in the Cologne edition for the year 1573, but its words are, “he called the temple of God the churches, wherein he will seize the first seat.” In which words he rather seems to be tacitly excluding the temple at Jerusalem, although, by saying ‘churches’ absolutely, he includes them all, and consequently even those that were at Jerusalem.
spacer 6. Wherefore, by understanding the Church too by the temple of God, there are two or three expositions of that term. One, that by the Church is understood not a material place for the worship of God, but a formal Church, so to say, that is, the congregation of the faithful. And this is what Jerome indicates above when he says, “Or, as we think more truly, he will sit in the Church, showing himself that he is as it were Christ himself and the Son of God.” And he signifies the same on Matthew 24 when expounding verse 15 “in the holy place, that is, in the Church.” And certainly the words of Chrysostom, which I reported according to Hervetus, are not alien from this sense. And the same sense is put down as probable by Andreas on Revelation in his ch. 62. Another exposition is that the temple of God is taken for a material place of sacrifice and worship, which we call “Church.” And this exposition can be sub-distinguished. Hence the second exposition will be that the temple of God be taken generally for the churches of Christ, and specifically for those alone, to the exclusion of the temple in Jerusalem. And this was expressly posited by Oecumenius, and Theodoret does not disagree with him, although he did not expressly posit the exclusion. The third exposition will be that by the temple of God is understood any divine temple, whether it be in the Church of Christ or in the Synagogue. And this is handed on by Theophylact and he is followed by Cajetan when he says that: “a determinate temple is not signified, but anything dedicated to God.” Such that the temple of God is put to exclude only the temples of idols, as Augustine also wished in De Civitate Dei XX.19.
spacer 7. But Augustine adds there a fourth more metaphorical exposition. For by the temple of God he understands Antichrist himself, and weighs the fact that the Greek does not have “so that he sitteth in the temple of God,” but “into the temple of God,” that is, that he shows himself as the temple of God. Which can be understood either of the person himself of Antichrist, and thus it will have to be understood, not in that common way in which the just are called the temple of God, but in another singular way in which he wishes to be held for true God. Just as is said there to dwell in Christ the fullness of the godhead bodily, and thus the humanity of Christ, or Christ as man, can be called in a singular way the temple of God. Hence when Paul says 2 Thessalonians 2.4, “So that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God,” he does not, according to this exposition, put those two things there as diverse, but the latter part is an explication of the former; for Antichrist will show himself into the temple of God, preaching that he himself is the true God, and showing that he is to be as such adored. Or by Antichrist can be understood, not the person of Antichrist alone, but together with a mystical body gathered together from the corrupt men who will follow him; and thus is Antichrist said to sit in the temple of God, because he will show his congregation as the true Church of God, wherein he will himself sit as God. And this latter sense is the one that Augustine more follows.
spacer 8. If it please the King of England, then, that the temple of God in the place of Paul signifies the Church, we make no contention; but let him choose himself which of the said expositions he more approves; for it is not now important for us to decide between them, but what only is of concern to the issue is to show that none of them can be of service to the assertion, or rather the vain thinking, of the Protestants. For if the Church signified by the temple of God is the congregation of the faithful, although Antichrist will sit in this Church showing himself as God, it does not follow that he will place his seat in the Roman City. For the congregation of the faithful is diffused through the whole world, and of itself abstracts from material place; hence that he is in this way sitting in the Church as God is nothing else than to be held and reputed for God in the very Church of Christ and by those who will be his members. Which could be true whether it happen at Rome, or Constantinople, or Jerusalem, nay whether it come about in Europe or Asia. But it is necessary to note that the congregation, wherein Antichrist will be worshipped as God, is called the temple of the Church of God because, before it was perverted by Antichrist, it was the temple and Church of God; but, by taking Antichrist for God, it will, in that respect, be made to be the Synagogue of Satan, or antichristian. According to this opinion, then, nothing is gathered about the Roman City, that it will be the seat of Antichrist. Nay, from the blasphemy is elsewhere overthrown of those who say that the Pontiff sitting there is Antichrist; for, as Jerome says, “Antichrist will sit in the Church showing himself that he is Christ and Son of God;” the Pontiff, however, does not so sit, but as minister of God and Vicar of Christ and servant of the servants of God. And this reason proceeds more or less in the same way of the fourth exposition, as will be readily clear to one who considers, for the exposition of Augustine also returns to it, that by the Church is designated a congregation of men, not a material place, and that the same is signified by the name “temple of God.”
spacer 9. But if it be pleasing to understand by the Church only the churches of Christians, there can, since Paul speaks indefinitely of the temple or Church of God, no more be an inference that Antichrist will sit in some temple in Rome than he will do so in one in Constantinople or in Jerusalem or some other like place. Nor is what the king adds of any importance, that Antichrist will sit “in the bosom and the innermost parts of the Church,” both because these words are not from Paul but he has himself added them from his own head, and they are therefore contemned with equal ease, and also because England was sufficiently in the bosom and innermost parts of the Church and yet, God permitting, it has become the seat of Antichrist; and Luther and Calvin poured out their venom in the middle precisely of the Church, and hence in its bosom and innermost parts, although they could not overturn Rome. The king will perhaps say that, although the temple of God was put indefinitely, it is taken by antonomasia for Rome, or for the Roman temple that is as it were the chief of all. He could also be helped by the words of Theodoret on 2 Thessalonians 2 who says, “He called the temple of God the churches wherein he will seize the first seat;” for we say that the first seat is Rome; therefore Antichrist will seize it. But that is also said willfully and without proof. And besides we will easily reply that Antichrist will not sit in the temple that is really chief, but in the one that he himself will wish and preach is chief; for it is more credible that it will be in Judea rather than in Italy. For since Antichrist will advertise himself for true Christ and Messiah, he will say that the head of his Church is Jerusalem, not Rome, as we will soon see. Now Theodoret by “first seat” did not in fact understand Rome, nor any of the primary churches, but in each church or temple the primary place and seat due to God alone; or he spoke of the first seat, not the one that now is or that was in his own time, but that Antichrist will himself erect. And this discussion proceeds equally according to the third exposition which, under the name of “temple,” and embraces both the Jewish temple and the churches of the Christians; for thus is the proposition of Paul more ample and indefinite, and therefore the determinate place of the Roman City can be therefrom less inferred.
spacer 10. From which also is concluded that in vain does the king propose to be worked out where the Apostolic See is; for although it is plain to all that it is at Rome, it does not follow that Antichrist will place his seat in that very place, even if he will sit in the bosom of the Church. Because the bosom of the Church is very ample and the good and bad exist in it, and one indeed sits legitimately, the other by ambition and tyranny is imagined the head of the Church. Besides the fact that (as I began to say above), although Antichrist were to expel the Pontiff from Rome and place his seat there, he would not sit in the same seat; nor thence could it be concluded that he who now legitimately sits so sits as Antichrist will sit. For he who sits now does not preach himself as Christ or Messiah, as Antichrist will preach. Wherefore what the king subjoins is vain, that the Pontiff conducts himself as God, “by condoning sins &c.” For it is one thing to bear the vicariate of God and, as his minister and in the way he himself instituted, to perform supernatural effects and to exercise divine jurisdiction; but it is another thing to behave oneself as God, to propose oneself as the God to be believed in and worshipped. For the former is done by the Pontiff legitimately, but the latter will be proper to Antichrist, as the Scriptures teach and the Fathers interpret, and as we will declare more extensively in the following chapters.
spacer 11. The second proof that Rome will be the seat of Antichrist is taken by the king from Revelation, and he supposes from ch. 13 that the beast which John saw rising up and having seven heads and ten horns is Antichrist. But next he takes an argument from ch.1 7 where John narrates that he saw a harlot woman sitting on the same beast (as the king interprets); about which woman John thus concludes at the end of the chapter, v. 18, “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” And about the same he had earlier said, v.5, that its name is “Babylon the great,” and he calls it the same way in ch. 18. Therefore says the king, “this place clearly and without any contradiction declares that Rome is or will be the seat of Antichrist.” He proves the inference: “First because no Papist is now denying that by the name of Babylon is Rome there very plainly understood. Next, that this woman,” he says, “is the Antichrist is proven from the time at which he will exercise his force and work, which will be for forty-two months, as is contained in ch. 13.”
spacer 12. But before I respond to this argument, I note that in these and other words of the king he is confounding the woman with the beast and conversely; for he says the woman is Rome and Babylon, and again he says it is Antichrist, and a little later he says it is clear that the beast of seven heads is Antichrist. And yet, on p.108, he says that the beast is the royal city. And likewise, on p.99, he confounds the woman with the beast, and says she signifies now the city, now its empire, now Antichrist. Which confusion both is repugnant to the common exposition and obfuscates the light of understanding; for if Rome is the woman and Babylon, how is it Antichrist? Or how will it sit on the beast which is said to be Antichrist? Next, in ch.1 3, it is not said that power was given to the woman for forty-two months but to the beast; therefore it is not thence proven that the woman is Antichrist, but that the beast is. Nor ought they to be confounded; for the woman represents one thing, and the beast another, nor can the beast carry itself. Nor yet do we say this to avoid the objection, but to declare the true sense and to prepare the way for avoiding the calumnies that hide in that confusion and equivocation, as we will see below in chapter 20. But the objection can be formed in this way. The fornicating woman, which is named great Babylon, is Rome, and she is said to sit on the beast, that is, on Antichrist, as her prince and foundation; therefore Rome will be the seat of Antichrist. The proof of the consequence is that, although it would seem that the prince sits rather in the city where he has his seat than the city on him, yet the city itself too is said to sit on the shoulders of the prince, insofar as it is ruled and preserved by his power and virtue. Thus Rome is therefore seen to sit on the beast Antichrist; it will therefore be his seat.
spacer 13. About this objection many things could be said, were they not said above. We could, therefore, easily avoid the objection by saying that the fornicating woman seen by John in Revelation ch. 17 signifies, not Rome, but the world, and that the beast on which she sits is not Antichrist but the devil. However, for responding to the king, it is not necessary to deny probable interpretations, much less the more received ones. We concede, then, that the woman signifies Rome, not however Christian Rome but pagan Rome, as I made clear in chapter 6. When therefore it is assumed that the beast on which the woman was sitting is Antichrist, we reply that this must either be denied or at least distinguished and understood in a sound way. For the beast is said to have seven heads, which are there expounded as being seven kings, none of whom is Antichrist, but another who is said to be eighth, although he be of the seven and is specifically called, v. 11, “the beast that was, and is not,” as was touched on above. Therefore the beast having seven heads and ten horns is not, so to say, adequately Antichrist, but the succession of tyrants who in the Roman Empire persecute Christians, after whom Antichrist rose up as it were “among them another little horn,” as is said Daniel 7:8. From here, then, is not rightly inferred that Rome at some time sits on that true and proper Antichrist, but on the pagan Roman emperors, persecutors of the Church and antichrists in type and by figure or participation. Therefore of these emperors or antichrists the seat was indeed Rome, when it held empire over all the kings of the earth and was drunk with the blood of the martyrs, that is, when it was pagan and not Christian Rome.
spacer 14. Hence if ch. 17 of Revelation is attentively considered, never is it therein signified that the fornicating woman was seen to be sitting on the beast insofar as the beast represents Antichrist proper, but only insofar as it represents his tyrant precursors and pagan Roman emperors. And that is why perhaps, when John says that he saw the woman sitting on the beast, he adds only, v. 3, “having seven heads and ten horns;” because Antichrist is neither one of the seven heads nor of the ten horns. For John himself, after he had said, v.10, that of the seven kings five are fallen and one is and the other is not yet come but was to come and to rule for a short space, he subjoins, v. 11, “And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and he goeth to perdition.” And afterwards he declares, v. 12, “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings…which receive power…with the beast,” unto whom, v. 13, “they shall give their power and strength.” But next he subjoins about these, that, v. 16: “they shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire,” that is, serving in this the beast, with whom, v. 13, “they have one mind,” and to whom, “they shall give their power,” as had before been said.
spacer 15. Hence further I gather that, so far is John from saying that the whore sat upon that beast insofar as the beast foreshadows the true and proper Antichrist, that instead he signifies that by him or by the kings his ministers she is to be destroyed. Therefore, from that vision, not only is it not proved, nor can be gathered, that Antichrist will fix the seat of his empire at Rome, but the contrary rather is not obscurely proved, since it is by Antichrist himself to be destroyed. Which is much confirmed in ch. 18, especially against the King of England, who understands the words of that chapter, v. 2, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen,” about the Roman City; and thus, from that sentence, the description there is of the perpetual desolation and abolition of the Roman City, whence is inferred, by a necessary consequence, that that destruction of Rome is to be done by Antichrist and the kings subject to him; first, from the words of the preceding chapter, which we have just reported; second from the following ch. 19, because that fall of Babylon, which is described in ch. 18, is not the consummation and burning of the whole world but, according to that interpretation, of a certain particular city; it will therefore be before the end of the world. And yet from ch.1 9 is gathered that the Babylonian fall will be near the end of the world; for immediately after it Christ, vv. 11 - 21, is shown descending on a white horse, and with a sharp two-edged sword proceeding from his mouth, accompanied by the armies of heaven, to destroy the beast with the kings and their armies, who are killed with the sword of him that sat upon the horse; therefore that the Babylonian destruction will be done by Antichrist and his army is, as a result, sufficiently understood. Therefore is thence evidently concluded that Rome will not be the seat of Antichrist.
spacer 16. Third, the same is concluded in this way, that if it is to be in that way destroyed at the end of the world, it will be done either by Antichrist or by some other; if by Antichrist, it will certainly not be his seat, for these two are repugnant to each other. Nor can it be imagined that he will first fix his seat therein if he is afterwards going to destroy it; both because this neither has foundation nor is likely, and also because the monarchy of Antichrist will not last so much time that it could suffice for that change of things, and because, in addition (as is gathered from ch. 17), he will from hatred of the whore destroy it, either by himself or through the kings his friends; therefore he will from the beginning wage enemy war against it; therefore it cannot be thought that Rome will first be the seat of Antichrist and must afterwards be destroyed by him. Nor can it either be said that it must be destroyed by another after Antichrist has fixed his seat in it, both because this is repugnant to the words cited from ch. 17, where it is said that it is to be destroyed by the kings, friends of the beast, that is, of Antichrist, and of the executors of his counsels; and also because, from other places of Revelation, and from Daniel and Paul, it is clear that Antichrist is not to be overcome by any pure man, but is to be killed by Christ himself. Therefore, if Antichrist were once to place at Rome his seat, Rome would not need to be destroyed by any enemy of Antichrist, nor by Christ himself before the general conflagration of the world, because Christ, when he comes to kill Antichrist, will not destroy any city, nor is this read of him, but only that he will send Antichrist and his false prophet alive into hell, and will kill the rest of his associates with his own sword, Revelation ch. 17.
spacer 17. The assertion, then, that Rome will be the seat of Antichrist is both not proved by the king and is contrary to his words and expositions and plainly false. Next, it is a very good conjecture that Antichrist will destroy the Roman Empire and will pursue it with great hatred, as is also gathered from Revelation ch. 17, and from 2 Thessalonians 2 and from all the Fathers; therefore it is not likely that he will place his seat at Rome, because he desires, along with his empire, to destroy even the Roman name.



1. It is more certain that the seat of Antichrist will not be at Rome than elsewhere. spacer2. It is commonly believed that the seat of Antichrist will be at Jerusalem. spacer3. This opinion is favored by the testimony in 2 Thessalonians 2 of St. Paul. It is however more probable that the Apostle is speaking of the temple in Jerusalem than of the Church.spacer 4. Confirmation from Matthew. spacer5. In confirmation of the common opinion is added another testimony from Revelation. Enoch and Elijah are to be killed in Jerusalem. spacer6. King James contends that by the name of the great city Rome is signified. He confirms it with a threefold reason. spacer7. He contends also that it can be said Christ was killed at Rome.spacer 8. Response to the first proof of the king. How the term “spiritually” is to be understood in the testimony of John. It is applied to Sodom and Egypt.spacer 9. The king’s second proof is confronted. spacer10. Again, the third proof. spacer11. The blood of the martyrs who were killed by Roman authority or approval is said to be found in Rome. spacer12. Although Christ was killed by Roman authority, he is violently to the words of John said to have been killed at Rome. The blood of the martyrs who were not killed at Rome is at Rome. spacer13. Jerome is expounded. In Revelation the holy city is diverse from the great city. Jerome declared his mind elsewhere more clearly.

T is indeed far more certain that Rome will not be the seat of Antichrist than it is certain what the place or city will be wherein he will place his throne. Nor ought that to be surprising, because in all obscure things that are very far from human cognition, what they are not is more easily recognized than what they are. But it is also not so necessary for us to know where Antichrist will sit than to know that it will not be at Rome, because this latter point conduces much to confound heretics; but the former, although it be unknown or uncertain, is not of much importance. Yet nevertheless, so as, from this assertion, to confirm with greater authority in this chapter the denial demonstrated in the previous chapter, we will in a few remarks propose what seems on this point to be more likely.
spacer 2. Catholic doctors, then, judge it very likely that Jerusalem will be the royal seat of Antichrist, and that the temple in Jerusalem, restored by Antichrist, will be as it were the foundation and head of the false religion that Antichrist will try to introduce into the world. Which opinion descends without any doubt from ancient tradition. For Irenaeus V.25 openly says that Antichrist will reign in Jerusalem; Lactantius VII.15 and 17 says that he will reign in the East, and in that part of Asia which is called Syria, that is, in Judea; Hippolytus in orat. De Consummat. Mundi says that he will sit in Jerusalem. The same is taught by Augustine; the same by Gregory of Tours in Book I of Histor. Francor. at the beginning: “Antichrist,” he says, “will first introduce circumcision, asserting he is Christ, then in the temple in Jerusalem he will place his statue &c.” The same by Cyril, Catech. 15, by Damascene IV.27, by Sulpicius Severus Dialog. 2 on St. Martin, and all those who expound the Scriptures immediately to be dealt with. Now so great a consensus of Fathers could certainly not be founded in mere human suspicion or opinion, since it is about a future thing that is contingent and specially dependent on divine providence and permission; therefore one must believe it has flowed from a common understanding of the Scriptures; for there are in Scripture many testimonies that signify this point; however, because they are prophetic and obscure, the Fathers seem to have gathered the true sense of them from some tradition.
spacer 3. Now there seem to be two chief testimonies whereby this truth is confirmed that we will now consider, and we will by the by touch on other testimonies and reasons or congruences. The first testimony is that of Paul which the king was using 2 Thessalonians 2:4, “so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God.” For it is far more likely that Paul there is speaking of the temple in Jerusalem. For, first, thus do the ancient Fathers more frequently expound it. Irenaeus V.25 says, “He will transfer his kingdom to Jerusalem and will sit in the temple, seducing those who will worship him as if he were himself Christ.” And at ch. 30 he says:, “He will sit in the temple in Jerusalem.” The same in Hippolytus in orat. De Consummat. Mundi, Ephrem orat. De Antichristo p.3 says, “He will honor the Jews above measure, and the people of the Jews will affect him very greatly with honor. Hence he himself too, as preferring them in honor, will designate for the advantage of all of them his place and temple, and his prudence in restoring it.” The same in Cyril of Jerusalem, Cateches. 15; and Damascene IV.27, when expounding Paul, says, “Further, the temple of God he understands not to be ours but the Jews’, for he will come not for us but for the Jews.” Thus too is the place of Paul interpreted by Sedulius Hymo, St. Thomas, and commonly by others. And it can be thus made persuasive. For it is more likely that Paul is speaking of a material temple, which is a place of worship and sacrifice, than of the metaphorical temple of the Church or of the human spirit; both because that meaning for the word ‘temple’ is more proper and more in use, and could be more easily understood by the faithful whom Paul was then wanting to instruct; and also because he is without doubt alluding to the words of Christ in Matthew 24:15, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation…stand in the holy place.” Where there is no doubt but that Christ is speaking of the material temple. Now at the time when Paul was writing only the temple in Jerusalem was through antonomasia called by the faithful the temple of God, because then either Christian temples had not yet begun, or they were not called by this word, as is clear from the ancient Fathers. Nor is the term “temple of God” in its propriety and as it signifies a place of sacrifice found in any other meaning in Scripture and especially in the New Testament, therefore it is more likely that Paul used the term in the same signification.
spacer 4. This testimony is confirmed from another in Matthew 24, when Christ says: “When ye see the abomination of desolation…stand in the holy place;” for there “holy place” was understood to be the temple in Jerusalem by all the witnesses who interpret the place of the statue or image of Caesar, as Chrysostom, hom. 76, Theophylact there, again Hilary can. 25 on Matthew, when he says, “These things he spoke of the times of Antichrist.” And later, “and when he is received by the Jews he will stand in the place of sanctification, so that where God used to be invoked by the prayers of the saints, there he, received by the infidels, should be venerable with the honor of God.” Ambrose too. Book X on ch.21 Luke, expounds it of “the inner temple of the Jews.” And the same sense is indicated there by Jerome when he said that the words of Christ can be understood either simply of Antichrist, or of the image of Caesar that Pilate placed in the temple, or of the statue of Hadrian that was placed in the holy of holies. Jerome, then, understood that holy place to be the temple and the holy of holies, and yet right there he says that Paul is in 2 Thessalonians 2 speaking of the same place. Now both are very well confirmed by Daniel 9:27, “and there shall be in the temple the abomination of desolation [alt: and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate];” for whatever is there signified by abomination of desolation, it cannot be doubted but that Daniel understood the temple in Jerusalem; for no other temple of the true God then existed, nor is there discussion of another in the Old Testament; but Christ the Lord alleges the place of Daniel; therefore he understood by the holy place the same temple; now Paul alludes to both; therefore he is speaking about the same temple that Daniel was, as Origen rightly noted in Book VI of Contra Celsum, about the middle.
spacer 5. The second principle testimony is Revelation 11, where is said that the witnesses who will speak against Antichrist are to be killed, v. 8, “in the great city…where our Lord was crucified,” that is, Jerusalem; now they will be killed by Antichrist, as is there said, v. 7, and in the same place Antichrist must be killed; therefore it is far more likely that Antichrist will there chiefly reign. Thus Andreas on that place in his ch. 30 says, “For in this great city he will, in imitation of David, set up (as is probable) the seat of his kingdom.” The same in ch .62, with greater doubt. More clearly does Aretas say, ch. 30. “He will cast out their unburied bodies in the streets of Jerusalem, for therein will he reign as king of the Jews, whom he will seduce.” And in the same way is that place understood about the city of Jerusalem by the rest of the ancient and modern expositors on that place, and many other Fathers have taught that Elijah and Enoch are to be killed in Jerusalem by Antichrist, which they did not assume save from this place. Hence it is with sufficient probability gathered that that city will be the royal city of Antichrist; for that is why rather in it than in other places will the witnesses of Christ continually preach, because it will be the head of superstition, just as formerly Peter and Paul studied to teach chiefly in the City of Rome, which was the head of the pagan empire; hence, just as they themselves were there crowned with martyrdom, so Enoch and Elijah too will be killed by Antichrist in his royal city of Jerusalem. For since he will be a Jew and is to be taken up and worshipped by the Jews as Messiah, as we will say a little later, it is per se likely that, after he has usurped monarchy in the East, he will place his throne in the royal city of Jerusalem, which he himself will restore. Therefore that city, restored and enlarged by Antichrist, is called there by John “the great city,” or certainly “great” because in it great and marvelous things have happened; but because it will at that time be most corrupted in faith and morals, therefore is it called by John in the same place “spiritually Sodom and Egypt.”
spacer 6. Yet, indeed, the King of England, notwithstanding the evidence of the said words, contends that Rome is signified in those words by John. And first he notes that, when John said, v.8: “And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt,” the word ‘spiritually’ is attributed both to Jerusalem and to Sodom and Egypt, so that it may be believed the discussion is not about the material Jerusalem but the mystical, by which he understands Rome. Next he considers that John, after the aforesaid words, did not add simply “where their [alt. our] Lord was crucified,” but with interposition of the particle “also” [et] “where also our Lord was crucified &c.” and thus he expounds: “The seat of Antichrist will already be full of spiritual fornications and idolatries, just as formerly were Sodom and Egypt, nay with such cruel persecution of the saints that in it is Christ again crucified in his members,” according to the common rule that things done in the body and members may be attributed to the head. Third, he confirms this exposition from the words of John in Revelation ch.18 at the end, where of the mystical Babylon he says, v.24: “And in her was found the blood of the prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” For, under that distributive term ‘all’, he wishes Christ to be understood as well, because he was slain upon the earth. Hence he seems to gather that Christ too can be said to have been killed at Rome.
spacer 7. Finally also he adds that Christ can be said to have been killed at Rome because he was killed by the authority of the Roman Empire and as a criminal against the Roman Emperor, “such that he who tried to excuse him was held to be no friend of Caesar.” And this interpretation can be assisted by the fact that some Catholics do not understand those words in their proper sense. For Jerome, epist. 7, tries with many arguments to show that the discussion there is not about the city of Jerusalem proper. First, because at the beginning of the same ch. 11 John calls Jerusalem :the holy city’ when he says, v. 2, “and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” Next, because no special city but the world is wont in Sacred Scripture to be spiritually named Sodom and Egypt, thus he concludes that the city is the world. But Lyranus on that place understands by that great city the congregation of infidels; therefore, if it is licit to depart from the proper sense of the words, there will be no reason for the king’s interpretation not to seem probable.
spacer 8. We reply, to begin with, that the things the king notes are slight, whether for proving his exposition or for overturning the truth. For what he first notes, that the adverb ‘spiritually is attributed not only to Sodom and Egypt but also to Jerusalem, is manifestly false and contrary to the letter. Because, in the first place, the name Jerusalem is not put there so that it may be noted as taken spiritually, but it is by periphrasis described by other metaphorical names, whereby its vile and fetid properties are noted, and by the death of the Lord which happened therein, and thus it does not appear how that adverb “spiritually” could be attributed there to Jerusalem. Next, it is made more manifest by noting the order of the words, which is thus: “And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.” Where it is very clear that the word “spiritually” is not conjoined with “great city,” nor is put for indicating that “city” or “great” is used not properly but metaphorically, but it is conjoined with the word ‘called’ and put for explaining how that city is called “Sodom and Egypt,”  namely mystically and not properly; therefore it draws off, so to say, from their proper signification the words put in predicate position, not the subject itself to which those metaphorical predicates are attributed. Nor even can the term ‘spiritually’ be conjoined with the following words, “where also their Lord was crucified,” because that is now as it were a new proposition, indicating that the city is great for another condition or property of it that is very different, to which the word “spiritually” is not there attributed, unless someone wants his own judgment to pervert the words. Therefore the word “spiritually” is in no way attributed to Jerusalem, because neither under this term itself nor under periphrasis or description is it said thereof. And thus from the force of the context is it concluded that only the names Sodom and Egypt can, because of the term ‘spiritually’, be there understood metaphorically, and on this Jerome and Lyranus above mentioned, along with all expositors, agree.
spacer 9. Now in the things that the king notes in second place, the particle “also,” which the king weighs, is no obstacle to the truth; for the literal and true sense is that not only is that city spiritually Sodom and Egypt, but that also in it was committed that horrible crime of killing Christ. Hence we gladly accept what the king there admits, that the discussion there is about the city wherein the royal seat of Antichrist will be. Again we admit the thing he adds, that it will be full of darkness and fornications, whether spiritual or carnal, because of which it is called Sodom and Egypt. But the interpretation he subjoins, that Christ is said to have been crucified there not in himself but in his members, we altogether reject and condemn. For although that rule of interpreting the Scriptures about the Lord and his body is well worn, yet, as Augustine says when explaining it, “What becomes the body, what the head, needs certainly to be understood.” Because although the rule taken in itself and generally is true, one can in the bad use of it, done without discrimination and understanding, very gravely err. Which without doubt often happens to the king, not only on this point, but also in this whole discourse about Antichrist, nay also in other dogmas of the faith, and in the abuse of other rules of interpreting Scripture, as we have already several times noted above. And in the present case it is manifest, first because there is no necessity there for such rule or metaphor, and it is not be applied or attached without foundation. Second, because the words do not help but rather are opposed, for when it is said, “their Lord,” the head is expressly distinguished from the members who were killed for him. Third, because the words “where also their Lord,” are put for designating the great city about which the discussion is, and for distinguishing it from the rest; but if the discussion is about the head in its members, the sign is useless because not only in Jerusalem, not only in Rome, but in the whole world, and in almost all its cities, Christ has been crucified in his members. Next, none of the expositors have so understood that place, nor any of the Fathers.
spacer 10. The confirmation that the king added in third place, from Revelation ch. 18, did very much move Bede and others who said that Babylon in that chapter did not signify any special city but the whole world; which exposition was shown above to be very probable; however, once it is posited, the objection ceases. Yet, if we suppose that Babylon is Rome, the king’s argument is of little moment; for if from those words, “the blood of all &c.”, he thinks to gather that Christ too was killed at Rome, and for that reason he expounds him as having been killed in his members, then Abel, and the martyrs of the Maccabees, again Stephen, Andrew, and all the apostles were killed at Rome, for they too were “slain upon the earth.” But they were not killed at Rome in their persons proper, nor in their members, because Abel was not head of martyrs, or anyone like him, nor in them does the rule about head and body have place; in what way, then, were they all killed at Rome? What the king then replies about the others, we will reply about Christ; and much more easily and probably, because it is not necessary to understand that distributive term of all the saints killed from the beginning of the world, but of those who were killed by tyrants persecuting Christ’s Church; and so it is not necessary to include Christ under them.
spacer 11. You will say that it seems at least necessary that all the martyrs of the New Testament are included. For this reason learned modern doctors respond that the sense is not that all the saints were killed at Rome, but it is said that therein was found the blood of all the martyrs, because they were killed by Roman power and authority, as many as were everywhere killed for Christ, especially up to the times of John. This exposition can also be sufficiently founded in the letter, for thus it has, v.2 4: “in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” Where I weigh the phrase “upon the earth,” for in this latter place is not said “in her,” that is, in Babylon, but “upon the earth,” that is, everywhere in the world; therefore it does not say that all were killed at Rome but that the blood of all those everywhere killed is attributed to Rome. But someone will instance that even in this way not all martyrs were killed by the work of the Roman emperors or magistrates. For Stephen was killed by the Jews on popular impulse or on their own authority; many too were killed in Persia and in other places outside the Roman Empire. The response is, to begin with, that these were few and that no account is being taken of them, nor is it necessary that the universal terminology of Scripture should always be understood without any exceptions. Or it can also be said that the blood of all those killed for Christ is found at Rome, because Rome approved by its example the martyrdoms of them all, and provided all tyrants with example and minds to persecute Christians; and finally because either Rome cooperated in the deaths of them all, or consented in affection, and is thus made partaker in the killing of all.
spacer 12. And all these things fit best with the death of Christ, and thus are the things better accommodated that the king says in last place in his interpretation, that Christ is said to have been killed at Rome because he was killed by authority of the Roman emperor. For this is very violently accommodated to the words of John in ch. 11. For he is not there dealing with the authority, but with the place “where their Lord was crucified,” as the words themselves show, and the occasion for which they were added, namely to give a sign whereby it may be understood what city the discussion is about; for which end it serves little to know the authority or power whereby Christ was killed; for he could, even if he was killed by the authority of the emperor, be killed in the whole Roman world or any city of it. However, in ch. 18 all the killed, under whom the king wishes Christ to be included, are not said to be killed at Babylon, but “upon the earth,” while the blood of them all is said to be at Babylon, or Rome, namely by participation, authority, cooperation, or consent, as has been said. Now in this way the blood of Christ too, not in his members only, but even in his own person, was found at Rome, either because of the reason of the king, because he was killed by Roman soldiers and a Roman magistrate, and as it were in defense of the authority of Caesar; or certainly because the Roman emperors, by persecuting and killing Christians, were professing very great hatred for Christ, and thus were being made partakers in his killing. The king, therefore, by his own interpretation solves precisely his own objection that he had put in the preceding confirmation; he does not, however, expound but corrupt the words in ch. 11 of which we are treating.
spacer 13. To Jerome we reply, to begin with, that he does not favor the king, because he interprets the place, not of Rome, but of the whole world. And nevertheless we say that even that interpretation we do not approve of, because it is foreign to the words and mind of the writer, as has been explained; and learned men judge that Jerome was not there speaking in his own person but in the name of Paula and Eustochius, and that he was putting forward the things that they thought contributed to the commendation of Jerusalem and the vindication of it from shame, not considering nor rigorously examining the truth of the things they were saying. Nor are the reasons of Jerome compelling, both because the same city in different respects or times is called holy and wicked, as is frequent in Scripture; and also because it is probable that “the holy city” of which John is speaking at the beginning of that chapter is not same as the “great city” of which he is speaking at the end, for the former is the Church of Christ while the latter is Jerusalem. Nor is it uncommon in Scripture to compare Jerusalem with Sodom, as the expositors there extensively show; and even had it not been done elsewhere, this would not prevent John, foreseeing the future state of Jerusalem in the time of Antichrist, from making that comparison and using that metaphor. For Rome too is not in ancient Scripture found called Babylon, and yet Peter and John imposed that name by metaphor. Next, the same Jerome on Daniel 11 at the end expressly teaches that Antichrist will place the throne of his kingdom in Jerusalem, and that there on Mt. Zion he is to be killed by Christ. And in this sense he extensively expounds that place of Daniel; which sense, as he himself says, “he has pursued prolixly, to show the slander of Porphyry and the difficulty of Scripture, the understanding of which without the grace of God and the doctrine of the forefathers the most ignorant claim even most of all for themselves. Which words I report for this reason, that I may in the same words excuse my own prolixity too in this book.



1 - 2. King James contends that the Supreme Pontiff is Antichrist. From the place of Paul above cited the fabrication of the king is plainly refuted. spacer3. It is shown that the marks Antichrist do not in any way fit the Supreme Pontiffs. spacer4. Phocas did not confer the primacy on the Roman See, but at most made the fact clear. spacer5. Henry VIII should really be called a man of sin. spacer6. The king suppresses some of the words of Paul. spacer7. Both the tue God and the false are indicated by St. Paul. spacer8. Even if princes are sometimes called gods, this title does not fit the passage in Paul. spacer9. Antichrist’s consummate pride will consiist in the fact that it is not mankind that he wishes to surpass, but rather God himself. spacer10. Antichrist will raise himself above God. spacer11. An argument ad hominem. spacer12. He who justly guards his right does not, properly speaking, extol himself. spacer13. Protestants falsely accuse the Pontiffs of tricking Catholics with deceptive signs. spacer14 - 15. No Roman Pontiff has used delusions to demand the empire of Antichrist. This applies particuarly to Boniface.spacer16. This is refuted by the agreement of he Fathers. spacer17. Protestants glory in the Word of God.

HIS is the third head of the disputation that the king proposed about Antichrist. Who immediately at the beginning of the same disputation introduces the description of the person of Antichrist delivered by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, “that man of sin, the son of perdition, who exalteth himself above all that is called God.” In which, omitting the first two parts, he considers only the third, and that one he adapts to the Pontiff, so as to convict him of antichristianism. And he in this way more or less concludes: the Pope extols himself above all that is called God; therefore he is Antichrist. The antecedent is clear, for about kings, or about priests, or both, God says, Psalm 82:6: “I have said, Ye are gods.” But the Pope extols himself above all kings and bishops, “for he raises himself above the power of both swords.” Therefore he extols himself above everything that is called God, and accordingly he is Antichrist. Nor has the king in that place in the words of Paul wished to consider another property whereby the person of Antichrist might be described or known; but, after a long digression about the seat and time of Antichrist, he returns, on p. 102, to the description of that person, and tries to elicit it, not from the clearer places of Scripture, but from the most obscure visions of Revelation. But before, compelled by necessity, we digress with him to these more obscure and less useful things, we must stop at this place of Paul. Since it can therefrom be evidently agreed that the person of Antichrist is described in such wise that he must be conceived as not only distinct from the Roman Pontiff, but also altogether different and opposite to him in faith and morals, and finally as the supreme enemy and adversary of the Apostolic See.
spacer 2. And in the first place I consider the former words, which the king omits: “that man of sin, the son of perdition.” For by these words is that man described as most wicked, and that he will be the most ruined. Which a little later the same Apostle has more clearly explained, when he says, vv. 8 - 10, “that Wicked…whose coming is after the working of Satan…with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” Hence Chrysostom on that place in homil. 3, “He calls him man of sin, because he will do sins innumerable.” And Theodore says, “He called him man of sin, seeing that he is by nature a man who has taken up into himself all the working of the devil. But he is the son of perdition so that he may himself perish and procure perdition for others.” Hence he says that in this he will emulate Christ, that just as Christ was the cause of salvation for all, so he himself will be the author of perdition for all. Theophylact, “he calls him the man of sin himself, as he that will carry out every kind of sin and will trip up others into sin.” Like things are contained there in Oecumenius; and with the same colors does Cyril depict Antichrist, Catech.15, when he says:, “He will deceive the Jews and circle them round with every kind of inhumanity and with evils, so that he should excel in malice all who before him were wicked and impious.” And St. Ephrem in serm. De Antichristo, “The dragon will vomit out into him all his bitterness along with all his malice, and will deceitfully give him to drink a lethal virus hidden within himself.” And like things are contained in Damascene, IV.27 and in others who, in interpreting thus the words of Paul, write about Antichrist, whether expressly or tacitly. For the words of Paul, “that man of sin, the son of perdition,” are said by exaggeration and antonomasia. For the genitives there have the place of adjectives, and they are wont to have that great force when they are put absolutely, as the same Paul in Colossians 1 called Christ, v. 13, “the Son of his dearness,” that is, most dear Son, on whom the Father has poured all the treasures of his love, as Augustine thought, De Trinit. XV.19 at the end. In this way, then, does Paul in this place call Antichrist man of sin, that is, supremely evil and most ruined, or as Cardinal Hugo expounded, “servant of sin,” or, as Cajetan says, “man having the fullness of all sins.” And hence too do the theologians, along with Gregory, Moralia XV.28, say that he is the head, under Satan, of all evils, because in him will be all the fullness of malice. And because, just as Christ is more holy than all the good, so Antichrist will be worse than all the bad, as St. Thomas along with the Gloss on 2 Thessalonians 2.
spacer 3. Who, then, would be so bold and impudent as not to fear attributing this description to Boniface III or to the Pontiffs who were after him? For what evil did Boniface III do for which he will have deserved to be called “man of sin” and “son of perdition?” Nothing assuredly of this sort do we read handed on to memory in the histories. For he lived a holy life and issued holy decrees and died a holy death, as is clear from Platina and others. And the Protestants only object to him that he repressed the ambition of the Patriarch of Constantinople in seeking the primacy of the Church, and constantly and faithfully defended the Roman See as mother and head of the churches. But this is worthy of the highest praise, for it was not usurped by him or newly invented, but conceded by God and accepted by the Fathers and his predecessors. For that all the earlier Pontiffs up to St. Gregory the Great did that was shown above.
spacer 4. They bring as instance that he usurped the name of Universal Bishop conceded to him by the emperor Phocas, as Anastasius reports. We reply, to begin with, that either they are treating of the name of Universal Bishop or of the thing signified by it, namely the primacy of the Church. The primacy indeed of the Roman Church over that of Constantinople and others could not have been conferred by Phocas; for it was before him always in the Roman Church, and the Patriarchs of Constantinople themselves long before and always acknowledged it, as was shown above. At most, therefore, could Phocas defend and make clear the primacy of the Roman Church against the insolence of Cyriac the modern archbishop of Constantinople. And that this alone he did is reported by Anastasius and Paul the Deacon, whose words Baronius recites for the year 606 n. 2. But if they are treating of the name of Ecumenical or Universal Bishop and are placing in that this great sin, I do not, to begin with, find this term in the words of Anastasius or Paul, but the terms “primacy,” “first see,” and “head of churches,” which are very ancient. Next, even if it be true that John, the Archbishop of Constantinople, wanted to usurp the name of Universal Bishop, and that Cyriac labored with the same ambition, and that for this reason Boniface obtained from Phocas that he should restrain him, and that Phocas himself did so, and that he declared with an imperial edict that that name can be fitting only to the Roman Pontiff, nevertheless neither does Anastasius report nor can it be shown that Boniface or his successors accepted that title, explained and signified by that term. Next, let us concede, if it please, that Boniface did use that title and name; is this then a great sin such that for this reason Boniface deserves to be called a man of sin? Certainly if the thing itself and the dignity are true, as indeed they are, explaining it with this or that term does not make much difference, and perhaps wanting on that occasion to use the name to suppress and confound Cyriac could have seemed expedient. Otherwise, if Boniface sinned in accepting that title, the Synod of Chalcedon certainly was more gravely delinquent, because it offered that name to Leo the Great and his successors, as evidenced by Gregory, VII indict.1, epist.10.
spacer 5. But if Gregory and his predecessors, as the same says, refused to accept it, either because of humility, or because they did not judge it necessary for their times, or because they feared the term’s ambiguity, thinking it could be supposed the name of Universal Bishop took every other bishopric out of the way, nevertheless Boniface already in his own time, after having sufficiently explained the term and the intention of Cyriac, Bishop of Constantinople, could, in order to resist him without prejudice to his own humility, accept the name for the guarding of that very dignity. Assuredly, it is a thing worthy of wonder that Henry, King of England, should have dared, for the excuse of his lust, to usurp the name of head of the Church, unheard of up to his times, and not be by King James reckoned a man of sin, but rather true head of the Church whose successor he himself is and whom he ought to imitate, and Boniface III, for a name received from his forefathers and for the defense of his dignity, he has dared to call Antichrist, that is, “man of sin and son of perdition.” I omit the fact that the rest of the Pontiffs, who were on the See after Boniface, neither ordinarily used that title nor deserved that unworthy name of man of sin. For although we do not deny that some were of corrupt morals, yet they were few, and among them none was held so wicked that he deserved to be called by antonomasia man of sin and son of perdition, and many, contrariwise, were very holy; among whom some were martyrs, many illustrious for their life and sanctity, and all the rest without any corruption or scandal preserved the Church in faith and justice. The description, then, of Antichrist insinuated in those words of Paul, will by no one who has but the judgment of reason be adapted to the Roman Pontiff.
spacer 6. I come to the other words that the king considers, although he does not completely report them, for they hold thus, v. 4, “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped.” For the king omits the word “opposeth,” because it does not conform to his interpretation; for the Pontiff does not oppose Christian kings, or bishops, whom the king there wishes to be signified by the name of Gods, but professes himself the spiritual father and protector of them, and a most equitable guide. He also passes over those latter words ‘or that is worshipped’, because they utterly overthrow the sense he has thought out. But let us see first how the holy Fathers understood those words. For they have reckoned that Paul did not understand kings, judges, or princes of the world, or priests or prelates of the Church, but as the words indicate: “all that is called God.” And the Fathers are specially wont to expound it of the idols and gods of the Gentiles, because Antichrist will throw them all out and raise himself above them all, that is, above all who are called God, though falsely. Thus Chrysostom says:, “He will destroy the Gods of the Gentiles, and will command himself to be worshipped as God.” Likewise Theodoret: “He will say that he himself is Christ and true God, and thus he will rise up against all that is called God.” More or less the same is in Theophylact, Oecumenius, and Ambrose and other expositors. But Irenaeus, III.6, interprets the place of Paul about the gods of the Gentiles, “which are called gods, but are not,” and over them Antichrist must he says be extolled, “not above the true God.” Which one may doubt how one should understand. For the same Irenaeus, V.25, although he expounds the words in the same way, at the same time says of Antichrist:, “Being an apostate and a brigand, he wants to be worshipped as if God.” Hence he adjoins, “Putting away idols indeed so as to persuade that he himself is God, but extolling himself as one idol.” Therefore Antichrist will in truth extol himself above the true God and above the false ones or idols. But Irenaeus thinks that by the words “above all that is called God,” Paul only understood false gods, but that he signified his exaltation above the true God in the other words, v. 4, “so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” Hence in ch. 28 he says, “Sitting in the temple of God so that they who are seduced by him may worship him as Christ.”
spacer 7. It is, however, not foreign to the universality of the said words that they be understood to include both the true and false Gods, namely “above all that is called God,” whether truly or falsely called, and whether religiously or superstitiously worshipped. And thus Lyranus on that place and Rabanus in his tractate De Antichristo say, “Above all the gods of the Gentiles, and not only above them but also above all that is worshipped,” that is, above the Holy Trinity which alone is to be worshipped and adored. And same is clearly thought by Oecumenius on that place when he says. “He will oppose and be extolled in his pride not only against the God of all things but also against idols. For he will he not lead men to idolatry either, but to worship himself as God, therefore is it said that he will raise himself above all that is God or Divinity.” And on 1 John 4, treating of the same words, he adjoins, “By this which he adds, and above all divinity, he signifies Christianity too,” where there is to be sure the worship of the true God. In addition, Chrysostom on that place, when Paul says together, “opposeth and exalteth,” expounds it thus: “For he will not lead toward the cult of idols, but he will be a sort of adversary of God,” namely, of the true God; therefore he will also be above him extolled, for he will make himself “to be worshipped as God,” as the same Chrysostom subjoins in homil. 40 on John when expounding the words, 5:43, “if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive,” he says: “Antichrist will say neither that he has been sent by the Father nor that he is come by his will, but he will tyrannically claim all power, will profess that he is the God of all things, as Paul says, above all that is called God or is worshipped.” But other Fathers speak now about idols and false gods, now simply about all cult of God. For thus Tertullian, De Resurrect. Carnis ch. 24 says, “He will oppose and be high exalted above all that is called God, or religion, such that he sit in the temple of God affirming that he himself is God.” The same is also contained in De Anima ch.57; and Contra Marcion. V.16 he says:, “Above all that is called God and above all religion.” The like words can be seen in Hippolytus, Ephrem, and in others in my tractate De Antichristo; in Cyril, Cateches. 15, Lactantius, VII.17, Jerome in the said q. 11 to Algas., and the same is the opinion of Augustine, tract. 29 on John. And it matters little that Paul said it in the former or the latter words, provided it is clear that, in the complete description of Antichrist which he there sets down, he spoke not only of gods metaphorical, so to say, or that are so by some participation, as are kings and prelates, nor only of the false gods of the Gentiles or idols, but also of the true God.
spacer  8. Very frigid, then, and empty is the exposition, or rather adaptation, of Protestants. First, because it is against the common sense of the Fathers. Second, because “all that is called God” includes more. Or if the phrase “that is called” has the emphasis “that is called, since it is not,” as Irenaeus indicated, it thus pertains, not to kings or prelates, but to idols; because kings and prelates are, in the way they are said to be gods, not falsely so called, because they are by the mouth of God himself so called according to a certain analogy or participation; or if one takes absolutely “all that is called God,” whether it is so or whether it is not, it includes everything called God. And further the name “God” should most of all include what is more frequently and by all and by all the vulgar called God; now bishops or kings, although here or there in Scripture they are called gods, yet they are not vulgarly or commonly called so; but the idols of the Gentiles were then most of all signified by the name of gods, and in addition to them the true God was then, especially by Christians, most of all said to be God; therefore about these rather than about kings is Paul speaking.
spacer 9. Add too that the conjecture is not to be contemned that Paul did not wish there to point to and describe any elation whatever of spirit, but to a supremely corrupt and inordinate one in that man of sin, as the words themselves, and more so what he later adjoins, bear on their face. Therefore he is not speaking only of exaltation above other men in temporal or human powers. For in this way have there been many very proud emperors extolling themselves above all human power; and the King of England himself wishes to be thus extolled in his own kingdom, so that he alone be recognized as head in temporal and spiritual affairs; and in this way he raises himself above both swords, so that below God he refuses to recognize a superior, even in order to the salvation of the soul, but, wishing to be judge of all, he thinks that he can be judged by no one. With much greater reason, then, can a king of this sort be called Antichrist, at least in image or imitation. For Athanasius in epist. Ad Solitar. Vit. Agent. near the end, speaks thus of Constantius: “Grave are those things, and more than grave, yet of that sort are what are combined in him who bears the image of Antichrist. For who, when seeing him make himself prince of bishops in giving decrees, and preside in ecclesiastical courts, would not rightly say that he is that abomination of desolation which was foretold by Daniel?” These things Athanasius said of Constantius because he wished to usurp the courts of bishops in matters ecclesiastical, especially in causes of faith; what then would he have said of a secular prince who arrogates to himself spiritual primacy?
spacer 10. However, although this type of pride recalls the image of Antichrist, still it does not yet recall the truth; for Paul wished to indicate more about Antichrist, and so he did not conclude his description there but added, v. 4, “so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” Which words has the king in that description without cause omitted, since they very much make clear the person of Antichrist and his pride; they also expound how is to be understood the former phrase “exalteth himself above all that is called God;” not indeed by raising himself, within the order of ministers of God, above the power of both swords, but exalting himself above God himself and commanding that he be worshipped in the temple as God. And this is made more plain by what he next adjoins, v. 9, “whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.” For all these things thereto tend, that he should make himself God, v .10, “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.”
spacer 11. From which too is clear that the argument of the king is manifestly turned back against him. First ad hominem, because he himself says that the Roman Pontiff is an idolater in worshipping saints, divinities, and gods, and in thence subjecting himself to them and serving them; yet Antichrist will subject himself to no divinity, but will extol himself above all of that, and will not venerate either idols or images but will oppose them, as the Fathers gather from the words of Paul; therefore the king is not speaking consistently when he says that the Pope is Antichrist. Next, it is very evident that the Pope does not make himself God, nor command himself to be worshipped as God, nor is he an adversary of God or of Christ; for he procures the glory and worship of God as his minister; he is therefore not Antichrist, nor does he extol himself as Antichrist will. Again, Antichrist, as I was reporting from Chrysostom, will not say that he was sent by the Father or by God, but he will come in his own name, as Christ even indicated in John 5. But the Pontiff confesses that he has not only been sent by the Father but also that power has been committed to him by Christ, and that he is his servant, nay and servant of the servants of God; what conversation, then, is there of light with darkness, of Christ with Belial, of the Vicar of Christ with the adversary of Christ?
spacer 12. Hence I add that very unjustly is the phrase “extolling himself” attributed to the Pontiff on the ground he guards his dignity over the power of both swords. For he who defends his right, and a right given to him by God for the good of the Church, does not “extol himself” (which verb signifies excess and arrogance, and in this sense is it without doubt taken by Paul), but defends a divine institution and procures the universal good of the Church; but the Pontiff was in truth by Christ established over the power of both swords, as was shown above; therefore he does not extol himself when he vindicates that rank of honor for his own See. And indeed if by this title he deserve the name of Antichrist, antichristianism began, not with Boniface III, but with the beginning of the Church; for the Pontiffs always recognized and defended that rank of excellence in their See, as we showed above. Next, a no less efficacious argument is taken from the final words, wherewith Antichrist is described working signs and lying wonders, for the Roman See has not used these arts and wonders to guard its dignity. Nay, the King of England himself has said that he does not know by what arts it has ascended to that height of power; and no wonder if he does not know them, because there are none besides the sincerity of the word of God and the effectiveness of the promise of Christ establishing the Church upon its rock, and confirming it with true miracles, as we will touch upon in chapter 19.
spacer 13. But the king says that these wondrous signs and lies are the miracles that Catholics glory have been and are done in the Church, which he himself mocks, bringing in even an example about the miracle done in the Eucharist, wherewith Bellarmine elsewhere confirmed its truth. Which example is defended so learnedly and piously by the same Bellarmine in his response, ch. 9, that it seems nothing can be added to it. There only needs to be noted that these false wonders are sometimes attributed to Antichrist, as in this place of Paul, but are sometimes foretold about a certain false prophet of his, as in Revelation 13:12 - 13. And both places the king expounds about false miracles of the Church, yet he confounds Antichrist with his prophet, and the Roman Pontiff with the Church. But in order to uncover his error and the Protestants’ calumny, we must distinctly treat those two points and places. Here, then, the Apostle is speaking about the miracles of Antichrist himself. So in order for the king to prove to us that the Roman Pontificate has passed over into antichristianism, he must point to some Roman Pontiff who has used delusions and lying wonders for erecting the empire of Antichrist. But this he cannot show; therefore he must admit that the description of Antichrist given by Paul does not fit the Pontiff.
spacer 14. The minor we can prove from the histories beginning from Boniface III and running through the others, which would be prolix; therefore let it be enough to say in sum that Boniface did no signs whereby he obtained any dignity or power or empire, as is sufficiently evident from the histories and from what was said above. But about his successors, even the most holy, few true miracles are read of in the ecclesiastical histories, far from false ones being invented. For that Leo II, who occupied the See many years after Boniface III, was a holy man is handed on by Anastasius, Platina, and others; and the Roman Church in yearly cult venerates him among the saints. And yet no miracles or signs are read of him whereby he either usurped any power or obtained the name of sanctity. Now Martin I, who after Boniface III occupied the See before Leo II, did not only not use signs or portents to deceive the Church, but rather did he only with pontifical faith and spiritual power and constancy of mind resist the emperor Constans and Paul the bishop of Constantinople, when he said that: “Even if the whole world wishes to embrace dogmas foreign and alien to the faith, he himself could not either by anyone’s threats or blandishments or by death itself be in any way wrenched away from the Apostolic and Evangelical doctrine.” Therefore with this faith, not by false miracles, he commended the Apostolic See, and for that reason does he greatly praise the same faith in his letters. And because of the same faith God by a true miracle freed him from the hand of Spatharius trying, on the command of the consenting emperor and the exarch Olympius, to kill him, and afterwards honored him living and dead with true miracles. Thus too the Pontiff Deusdedit, older than Martin and younger than Boniface, is preached in the histories as holy and is venerated in yearly tradition, and he, without lying wonders, preserved his dignity by the true sanctity of life that is both related by the histories and venerated by the Church, and made manifest on one occasion by God with a simple and true miracle, cleansing a sick man of leprosy by a mere kiss. And like things are related of Gregories II, III, and VII, of Agatho, of Leo VIII, and of others in histories grave and deserving of trust, and to them are, along with sanctity of life, some miracles attributed without any fiction or suspicion or deceit.
spacer 15. The miracles, then, that were sometimes performed by the Roman Pontiffs after Boniface, are very far distant from Antichrist’s signs; for these latter will be “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness,” as Paul says, but the former are read to have always been done in defense of the faith and in honor of Christ. Next the king admits in another place that he does not know the arts by which that throne of the Rome See was carried up to so excelling a power; why then does he now make up that it was obtained by false signs and lying wonders?
spacer 16. Finally Paul adds another sign and as it were another small part of the description of Antichrist when he says, v. 8,“whom the Lord Jesus shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” Which words Protestants, and the king following them, also traduce into metaphors, saying that the spirit of Christ’s mouth is the word of God preached by Luther and his ministers, whereby God weakened the Papacy and little by little destroyed it. However, neither is that Paul’s sense nor is what is said even true in that sense. For Paul understands by the spirit of Christ’s mouth his efficacious command, and by the brightness of his coming his true descent and glorious appearing to kill Antichrist. For this is what the words in their propriety signify, and there is no reason for them to be twisted into metaphorical senses. And thus did the Fathers understand them. Chrysostom on that place in oratio 4 says, “By his sole command and presence, for it is enough for him to be present and all these things have perished.” Theodoret: “When he appears from heaven, he will merely speak, and he will bring destruction altogether upon that accursed one.” And he adjoins the place of Isaiah 11:4, “with the breath of his lips will he slay the wicked.” Oecumenius: “The spirit of his mouth he calls his order and command.” Ambrose on 1 Thessalonians 5: “Suddenly and unexpectedly Christ will appear, as the lightning appears, having with him the force of the armies of God the Father, to the perdition of Antichrist and his followers.” And he confirms it from Revelation 11. Jerome in the said q. 11 to Algas. expounds, “by the spirit of his mouth,” that is, “by divine power, and by the command of his majesty, who commands and it is done.” And later: “As the darkness flees at the coming of the sun, so by the brightness of his coming the Lord will destroy and demolish him.” And Augustine, De Civitate Dei XVIII.53 says, “That very last persecution, which will be by Antichrist, Jesus will himself extinguish by his presence, just as it is written &c.” and he introduces the words of Paul. According to this propriety, then, and true sense of the words, it is sufficiently clear that the description of Antichrist in this respect has not been fulfilled in the Roman Pontiffs.
spacer 17. But neither that which the Protestants boast of in their metaphor have they ever been able to point to. For they glory of the word of God, although however nothing do they less believe or hold in truth. For they keep the dead body of the word of God (as I was saying above) and endue it with their own spirit. And in this their spirit do they put their faith, and with it alone do they wage war against the Church of God and the Roman Pontiff, as we demonstrated evidently in book I. Far be it, then, that with such word and spirit of their mouth they should be able to prevail against the rock on which God founded his Church, against which the gates of hell will not prevail. Nor on that account, because they have perverted many from the faith and obedience of the Roman Church, has the prediction of Paul been therefore through them fulfilled; for there have never been heretics who do not deceive many, and Arius perverted more than Luther, and not for that reason could he destroy the Vicar of Christ or the Church; that glorying then is empty, and the presumption vain. Whoever, then, has fully considered all the signs and colors wherewith Paul has described the coming Antichrist will understand with evidence that he is not only dissimilar to the Pontiff but will even fight diametrically opposite to him; for since he will be Christ’s enemy, he cannot not be the greatest adversary of Christ’s Vicar.



1. Him who sits on the pale horse in Revelation ch. 6 the king interprets to be Antichrist. spacer2. Response to the king’s conjectures. spacer3. The place of Revelation can also be accommodated to Antichrist. However it is in no way damaging to the Roman Pontiff. spacer4. In another place of Revelation ch. 9 the king strives to show that the Pontiff is the star falling from heaven. spacer5. Many calumnies are objected falsely against the Pontiffs. Idolatry, cult of demons, homicide, sorcery, fornication, theft. spacer6. Other testimonies accumulated by the king against the Roman Pontiff. spacer7. The fancies of Protestants rest not on truth but on calumnies. spacer8. By the star falling from heaven in Revelation ch. 9 some understand the good angel. That fall in location is not a moral fall. There is confirmation in Revelation ch. 20 from something else similar. spacer9. Some say that the star is Lucifer. They interpret of the same the rest of that vision. spacer10. Some accommodate the falling start to evil men. spacer11. Others transfer the vision to some signal enemy of the Church. spacer12. None of the ancients understood Antichrist by this star. spacer 13. The star falling from heaven cannot be said of Antichrist. spacer 14. On the assumption Antichrist is the falling star, it does not square with any of the Pontiffs. Objection of the king. It is refuted. spacer15. The smoke ascending out of the mouth of the pit cannot be accommodated to Boniface. spacer16. After Boniface no crafty locusts, but many very holy men, flourished in the Church. spacer17. Protestants foolishly sound the trumpet against Catholics. 18. The disciples of Antichrist will not, as the king wishes, be idolaters. spacer19. St. John is speaking of the sins, not the disciples, of Antichrist. spacer 20. Response to the first of the calumnies of Protestants. Defense of Gabriel Vasquez from the crime imputed to him. Response to the second and third calumnies. spacer 21. To the fourth. spacer 22. To the fifth. spacer23. To the sixth. In the lavishing of indulgences no improper gain is got. spacer24. Response to what the king asserts last against the Roman Pontiff. spacer25. Ch. 9 of Revelation has regard more to the wicked than to the state of the Church. If indeed the talk in John is of Antichrist, it thence follows that he has not yet come.

HE king presses on in his Preface, p. 102, and, in order to prove his conjecture about the antichristianism of the Pontiffs, he introduces four visions from Revelation wherein he says Antichrist is depicted. The first is in ch. 6, where John tells of the opening of six seals of the book, which in ch. 5 he had seen closed, and after the first vision of a white horse, on which Christ was riding, and the second of the red horse, the persecution which Christians had suffered either from tyrants or from their relations and friends, and the third of the black horse, which signified famine and other plagues, or rather the darkness and the persecutions of heretics, he adjoins a fourth vision of a pale horse, which is described in these words, v. 8: “Behold a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them [alt. him] over the four parts of the earth (or, as the king reads from the Greek, over the fourth part of the earth), to kill with sword and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” This pale horse, then, or his rider, the king wants to be Antichrist; which he hence confirms that immediately connected to him is the opening of the fifth seal, wherein the holy martyrs cry and plead for judgment and vengeance to be hastened, which is at once, in the opening of the sixth seal, conceded to them. But what this whole explanation has to do with the cause the king does not make clear.
spacer 2. In brief, then, we reply that it is either false or very uncertain that by the pale horse Antichrist is signified; for if the expositors of Revelation are accurately gone through, there will be found almost as many expositions as heads. For some, applying those seals to various pagan Roman emperors and signal persecutors of the Church, accommodate the pale horse to Domitian, as Peter Aureolus, whom Viegas follows. Others, understanding persecutions of diverse orders to be there signified, attribute the pale horse to Trajan, because the insignia or pale color, of death and of hell, are easily applied to him; he also persecuted the Church more or less at the time when John, while seeing the vision, learnt that mystery from the fourth animal, as Ribera there pursues. But Andreas understands Diocletian or Maximian, in whose time persecution, together with pestilence and famine, afflicted the Church. Which Aretas also reports and seems to follow. Others, interpreting the rest in other ways, have judged that by the pale horse Mahomet was signified and his own and his successors’ persecution of Christians, as Joachim and Pannonius. Others say false brethren are signified, hypocrites and false prophets persecuting the Church, as Anselm, Richard, Victorius, Cardinal Hugo. Victorius, however, by the red, black, and pale horses say that the wars, famine, and pestilence announced by Christ in the Gospel are signified. And the same pleased Tyconius homil.5, who adds that by the pale horse are understood “evil men, who do not cease stirring up persecutions.” Ambrose again, or he who goes under his name, interprets the place far differently and very mystically, and there is in others an infinite variety. However I find no one who has specifically understood that fourth seal of Antichrist; although if we understand it generally of false prophets and hypocrites, it does rightly follow that Antichrist is by antonomasia included under it.
spacer 3. And this is probable; and that conjecture is at most able to show it, because in the opening of the fifth seal are presented the petitions of the holy martyrs imploring vengeance and judgment, and immediately in the sixth seal transition to judgment is made. Although it does not strictly show that either. For, in the same place, we read in the opening of the fifth seal that response is made to the saints, v. 11, “that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” From which response we understand that the interruptions of the saints are presented as done before the end of persecutions, and especially before the persecution of Antichrist, to which can be referred that “little season” which the saints are bidden to wait for. There is, then, nothing to compel us to understand Antichrist by the pale horse. But let us freely grant it to the king. But what argument, I ask, can be taken up to found or give persuasion to his thinking about the Roman Pontiff? Assuredly none, for although the coming Antichrist is described there, no trace of that description is found in the Pontiff. For the pale color, according to the opinion of all, indicates the very great fear that tyrants, and especially Antichrist, will very much inspire in the minds of men and the faithful; but the Pontiff holds the men subject to him away from the terrors and threat of death, but governs them, in virtue of the spirit and word of God, with love rather than fear. Hence that which follows, “death and hell,” in no way fits with the Pontiff; because he does not profess to have received power “to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with the beasts of the earth,” for these things are done by tyrant emperors and apostate kings and rebels; but the Pontiff receives the power of the sword wherewith he disperses their darkness, and destroys vices and plants virtues. Therefore, the opening of that seal, in whatever way it be understood, pertains in no way to the point we are treating of.
spacer 4. The king brings forward the second vision from Revelation ch.9, in which the fifth angel sounded the trumpet. For in ch.8 John had said that when the Lamb opened the seventh seal, v. 1, he saw seven angels standing before God, and that to them were given seven trumpets, v. 2, and in that chapter he had described the sounding of the first four trumpets, but in ch. 9 he begins by saying, vv. 1 - 3, “And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth; and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit, and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth, and unto them was given power.” In which words, and in the whole sound of this trumpet, the king only considers two things. The first is that, “that star, which fell from heaven, signifies someone of outstanding dignity who fell from heaven; because although he should be the light of the world, as Christ commanded, he, deserting from his office, failed like Lucifer, raised up a kingdom for himself.” The second is that the locusts indicate a pestilential swarm of small animals, crafty and of monstrous savagery, which that star sent out into the earth. “And in this way,” says the king, “the seat of Antichrist began to be erected,” thinking that the star is Antichrist and that the man of outstanding dignity, who failed like Lucifer, was Boniface III, whom he makes to be the beginning of Antichrist. Now what those very savage small animals are he does not make clear; but he seems to understand either all the Pontiffs, or all the doctors and pastors, or perhaps the Jesuits, who study to extend the empire of the Pontiff.
spacer 5. But afterwards, the king passes over to the sounding of the sixth trumpet, wherein he only considers what is said at the end of the chapter, vv. 20 - 21, “And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood; which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk; neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornications, nor of their thefts.” All which things, in the fashion of Protestants, he interprets of Catholics or (as he wishes) of Papists. And first he attributes to them that they worship demons, from Vasquez, De Cult. et Adorat. III disp.6 ch.3. Second, by idols &c. he understands images, “because it cannot be denied but that the head of the doctrine about the cult of them is the Romish Church.” Third, by murders he expounds the slaughterings and massacres that the Roman Church carries out by persecuting heretics. Fourth, the sorceries he says are “the Agni Dei, blessed garments, relics, prayers, whereby men are thought to be preserved from various dangers.” Fifth, the fornication he says is partly spiritual through idolatry, partly proper, because it is in the Church more frequent on account of the celibacy of priests and clerics in sacred orders, and because of “so many idle flocks of monks and people sanctimonial. For leisure is a great incentive for lust.” Sixth, the thefts he attributes, lastly, to us both metaphorically and properly when he says, “But they become accomplices in theft most of all in that they steal from God the titles of honors and the fullness of power that is due to him alone, which they confer on Antichrist their head. Nor are they less involved in accumulating the riches of theft by jubilees, indulgences, relics, and other things of that sort &c.”
spacer 6. Third, so that he may show that in all these are described the times of Antichrist, the king passes to Revelation ch. 10, where John sees an angel standing on the sea and the earth crying with a loud voice, vv. 6 - 7, “that there should be time no longer; but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” Indeed he proceeds, as a result, to ch. 11 when he says that the end of Antichrist is there described, and he expressly points to that fact that he is signified by the beast rising out of the bottomless pit, and that it is the same beast that is mentioned in chs.13 and 17, “because always he is said to rise from the bottomless pit.” About which we do not much contend, as is clear from what was said above, and as I will again say below. But here the king seems to inculcate this point for this reason, to persuade that John in ch. 9 is treating of Antichrist, after whose destruction the judgment will follow and time shall cease.
spacer 7. Thus more or less the king; in which, if we carefully consider the matter, the things which pertain to that interpretation, that we should understand Antichrist by the star or the beast, are indifferent and do not in anything regard the display or defense of the faith; but those things which contain calumnies, false witness, and (to say what they really are) blasphemies against the Roman Church possess no proof but only the Protestants’ freedom and custom of cursing, by whom miserably deceived the king imitates their talk, and for that reason we could omit a response and despise all those things. But because we are debtors to the wise and the unwise, we will speak first about the literal exposition of Revelation ch. ,9, but afterwards we will refute the vain adaptings of the king and his false calumnies.
spacer 8. First, then, the star John saw that fell from heaven and that was given the key of the bottomless pit, has among Catholics two chief expositions, one interpreting the star in good part, one in bad part. So, first, some say that the star is not the bad angel, nor any corrupt person, but some holy angel to be sent by God near the end of the word to open up the bottomless pit, namely by allowing the princes of darkness to ascend thence so as to attack men, partly with the darkness of heresies and infidelities by blinding their minds, partly by afflicting the just with very grave evils and persecutions. Which exposition cannot easily be refuted. For when the star is said to have fallen from heaven, it does not signify a moral fall from justice to iniquity, as Lucifer is said to have fallen from heaven in Isaiah 14; but it signifies a very swift local descent, and so is declared by that word. And when afterwards it is said that the sun is darkened &c., it is not said that the star sent the darkness or worked the subsequent evils, but only that it opened, that is, gave license or took away impediments, and then there followed what is subjoined, v.2, “and there arose a smoke out of the pit,” and the rest that follows. This interpretation is also explained from another like one of Revelation ch. 20, where John says, vv. 1 - 3, “an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon…and Satan, and bound him…and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up &c.” For there is no doubt that he is a good angel; what wonder, then, that the same angel will also have been sent “to loose the devil a little season,” as is there subjoined? This opinion is surely very probable.
spacer 9. But the second exposition, which interprets the star in bad part, is no less probable, but it has several divisions. For the ancient expositors interpret the star as the devil, namely Lucifer, about whom in the person of the king of Babylon it is in Isaiah 14 said, v. 12, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground &c.” up to v. 15, “thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” Hence they weigh the fact that John did not say that he saw the star descending but that he saw it descended from heaven, because it did not then descend, but it descended before men were created or sinned. Or if perhaps John then saw as it were a descending star, he was indicating the bad angel which had already descended long before. Now to this star as thus expounded the key of the bottomless pit is said to have been given, because the power of hell as of a kingdom has been committed to him. Hence Christ our Lord too, in Matthew 12, attributed a kingdom to Satan when he said, v. 26, “If Satan cast out Satan…how then shall his kingdom stand?” And in the same place, v.24, Beelzebub is said to be “the prince of devils.” Nor is it an obstacle that the key will serve to open up, as is there said; for the power of a kingdom, or city, or a house is extended also to this act. And according to this exposition can the rest be understood; for the smoke of the furnace is rightly understood to be the temptations of the devil, and the locusts his ministers, whether bad angels or ruined men &c.
spacer 10. However, others by that star do not understand the bad angel, or some class of bad men, or some corrupt man. For Ambrose there says, “By the star are heresiarchs designated, because just as stars shine brightly in heaven, so they themselves do before they fall, and their doctrines and wisdom used to shine brightly in the Church.” And thus as a result he understands that the locusts are the ministers of heresiarchs, and in this way does he pursue the rest. But Anselm, although he understand the demon by the star, interprets by the locusts the heresiarchs themselves, ministers of the demon; because just as locusts jump and do not fly, but fall back at once to earth and bite and gnaw it, so heretics jump in pride, but since they cannot by knowledge fly to the heights, they fall back to earth and gnaw at the good. Hence, in conformity with this exposition, we can rightly understand by the star the signal heresiarch Luther, who although he seemed before to be, or ought to be, in his way a star, was permitted by the secret judgment of God to fall into the bottomless pit of errors and to pour out darkness from which shot up a huge multitude of locusts, ministers or rather even heresiarchs.
spacer 11. Others, finally, understand by the star not some heresiarch, but someone signal who, not only by pouring out darkness, but also by pursuing tyranny and power, will pursue after Christians. And thus Lyranus by the star understands the emperor Valens who, on the persuasion of his wife, fell from the height of the Catholic faith into the Arian heresy, and sent preachers to infect the Vandals and Goths with the same heresy. Which Vandals he says are by the locusts signified, who devastated Italy and other Catholic provinces. Which exposition was followed by Peter Aureolus on the same place, and by Antonius, part. I Histor. title 6, ch.1 §2, as to this second part; for by the falling star they interpret Genseric, or some other like king of the Vandals, rather than Valens. What wonder, then, if someone should say by a like analogy that Henry VIII, King of England, was that star falling from heaven, who not only fell from the heights of faith into the most ugly schism and heresy, but also was altered from an illustrious defender of the Roman Church, not only in arms but also in doctrine, into a most bitter enemy. Hence at once was the very dense smoke of corrupt doctrine spread through his whole realm, and obscured the light and understanding of the faith, and thence have corrupt ministers and very bitter persecutors of Catholics in a brief time been multiplied like locusts and scorpions.
spacer 12. These and the like things, indeed, can be easily by anyone thought out. However I do not for this reason propose them, that I judge they would all be fitting to Scripture, or probable; but so that the reader may understand that they are no more likely than the things that Protestants have convinced the King of England of; for only by willful accommodation, without foundation in the text of John, and without order and observance of the things that in the sounding of trumpets are put forward, have they been thought out. Hence, although there has been so much variety among ancient authors in expounding the stars, and although many of them say that there the precursors of Antichrist, the future calamities in the Church near the times of Antichrist, are designated, yet I find none of them who, before the King of England and his ministers, said that the star was Antichrist, or the locusts his proper ministers, but at most his precursors, as Anselm calls them and others of the authors mentioned.
spacer 13. And rightly indeed did none understand Antichrist by the falling star, because the beginnings of Antichrist will be very diverse from the things signified by the falling star. For in Revelation Antichrist is always introduced as a beast ascending from the bottomless pit, as the king himself a little later noted, but the star seemed to be falling as from heaven, which mode or arising is far different. Nor does it matter if someone say that the demon too is represented by the beast rising from the bottomless pit, and yet can be signified too by the falling star; for the demon was first a star and, by falling to earth, was changed into the dragon and the beast of the bottomless pit. However, Antichrist will not first be a star, nor will he be as an angel in heaven, or as a signal person having in this world or in the Church some high place of kingship or priesthood from which he will have fallen, but he will be (as Daniel 7:8, 11:21 depicts him), “little and despised, a vile person to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom;” for such will be the beginnings of Antichrist, as was touched on above, and as I will again say in what follows. Therefore the accommodation or representation of the star falling to earth does not square with him, to pass over other things that can thus scarce be coherently expounded; for in any interpretation they contain the greatest obscurity.
spacer 14. Lastly, let it be that the star is Antichrist and that by it is signified some man of outstanding dignity; assuredly, once this interpretation has been admitted, there cannot therefrom be proved that any of the Pontiffs, and significantly not Boniface III, was Antichrist. For none hitherto has so abandoned his dignity that he has deprived the Apostolic See of its majesty and excellence, but all very consistently guarded and defended it. But if some by tyranny, or by violent death, were deprived of it, there is no fall from, but a consummation of, dignity; nay, although someone had by guilt or heresy fallen from that dignity, there would be no judgment of antichristianism, because it would have been a personal fall, not one that adheres to the See, nor one that redounds to it or to its successors. However, even this fall has by the grace of God not been found in the Roman Pontiff, especially as he is Pontiff and is illuming the Church; for never have the Pontiffs taught or sown heresies, as was extensively shown above. But it is in particular not read of Boniface III in any history that he introduced corrupt doctrine into the Church, or did anything contrary to the words of Christ, “You are the light of the world.” With what face, then, or what appearance of truth is it said that he was “a star falling from heaven because, having been established in outstanding dignity to be the light of the world, he deserted his office”? The king tacitly replies that he deserted his office because he erected a kingdom for himself. But this has already been sufficiently refuted. And it is in this way again disproved; for he erected either a spiritual kingdom for himself or a temporal. Not the first, because he did not usurp the Pontificate but was legitimately elected to it; and, having been established in it, he arrogated to himself no spiritual power that had not been handed on and observed by his predecessors, as has above often been said and demonstrated, where enough was also said about the name of Universal Bishop. Nor either did Boniface erect any temporal kingdom for himself, because he waged no temporal war, nor was he by any historiographer accused of temporal tyranny. Which is a sufficient argument that he is very far distant from Antichrist, who will first wage temporal war and usurp empire, and afterwards persecute the saints.
spacer 15. And hence can easily be proved that the rest of what in that blowing of the trumpet is heard about “the smoke arising out of the pit &c.” cannot be accommodated to the times of Boniface, because by that very thick smoke, darkening the sun and the air, all expositors understand heresies and corrupt doctrines; for nothing more apposite to that darkness and smoke can be signified, since it is certain that everything there is not properly but metaphorically taken. For although in the imaginary vision they are seen under visible form, yet they were not representing a corporeal smoke at some time rising to darken the sun, but some future tribulation in the Church, darkening the truth and light of the faith. But at the time of Boniface III no such doctrine went out from the Roman workshop, nor was there any innovation as regard the truth of the faith, nor can with any foundation any other such thing be designated, as we showed extensively in Books I and II; therefore this prophecy did not then begin to be fulfilled in the Roman See. Which argument can be made about the whole of the rest of the time up to our own age; because never has the smoke of infidelity risen from that See, as was proved in the same place.
spacer 16. Next, as to what the king on this point subjoins about the swarm of locusts, that is, “small animals, crafty and of monstrous savagery,” how it has followed on after Boniface he cannot show. For after Boniface there were in the Church very holy and very wise pastors and doctors, such as were, from the Greeks, Damascene, Maximus, Germanus of Constantinople, Theophylact, Photius, Euthymius, and others; while from the Latins Remigius, Bernard, St. Thomas, St. Bonaventure, Peter Damian, Laurentius Iustinianus, Hugo and Richard of St. Victor, and singularly from England Bede, Anselm, Lanfranc, and infinite others from all provinces of the Christian globe, adherents of the Roman See, lighting up its faith and doctrine, received from the ancients, and handing it on to posterity. Nor either in the ministers of that See was there done in the Church any savagery or persecution by scorpion torments. Therefore those locusts or savage little animals are very unsuitably accommodated to the doctors or ministers of the Roman Church, although those small animals may have represented heretics instead, or other precursors or ministers of Antichrist, as all the ancients and wise have understood. And although we grant they do signify the proper ministers of the true and singular Antichrist, it is thence rather proved that he is as far away as possible from Boniface and his successors.
spacer 17. But once an accommodation has been excluded of the words that sounded in the fifth trumpet, the other things are easily refuted that from the sounding of the sixth trumpet are seized upon by Protestants by mere calumny to disparage Catholics. But one must notice that there is described in that vision a huge disaster and future slaughter in the world in the very last times, whether under Antichrist or (which is more probable and more received) near his times under the kings who will destroy the Roman Empire before Antichrist comes. But three things must be distinguished in that vision, namely the huge multitude of fierce horses with their riders, a multitude of men killing and men themselves killed, who are said to be, v. 18, “the third part of men,” and others, of whom it is said at the end, v. 21, “neither repented they &c.” Therefore the fierce horses without doubt represent either heretics and their ministers, as many wish, or the armies of tyrants, as others more likely think; and by these it is said a third part of men must be killed, namely of those “who have not the seal of God in their foreheads,” as is said at the beginning of the chapter, v .4, and is commonly expounded of the wicked and impious. Besides these were the rest of men who were not killed in the plagues, of whom it is said at the end of the chapter that they, v. 20, “repented not of the works of their hands,” and these remaining men the King of England wants to be the disciples of Antichrist; for he says the doctrine of Antichrist is made clear in those words, and he then accommodates them all to the doctrine of the Roman Church.
spacer 18. But, to begin with, he is in conflict with other Scriptures wherein Antichrist is said to be going to destroy idols, Daniel 11:37, “nor shall he regard any god; for he shall magnify himself above all.” And Paul 2 Thessalonians 2:4. “who exalteth himself above all that is called God,” as we explained extensively above. Through the words, “And the rest of the men…repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood; which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk,” the disciples of Antichrist cannot be signified nor his doctrine, because he himself will teach rather that idols are not to be worshipped, and he will persecute those who cultivate them. And hence some gather that those plagues and slaughters will not be under Antichrist but precede him and, because idolatries will not by them be altogether ended, they are to be done away with by Antichrist. But others think that it does not matter that those fierce horses are the army of Antichrist himself, for although he will persecute idolaters, he will not be able to kill all of them in the world. Just as Mahomet also went after idolaters yet could not destroy them. Some, then, could be living even after the persecution of Antichrist, and about those that remained after the slaughterings of so many men and did not repent of their idolatries it is rightly said that they are to be condemned with Antichrist himself or with bad Christians. For in like manner Antichrist, although he will persecute Christians, will yet not be able to kill them all, nor pervert them, and still if any of the remaining were corrupt and did not repent of their fornications and murders &c., they too will be damned.
spacer 19. And in this way can the latter words of John be understood: “neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornications, nor of their thefts.” For these vices do not indicate the doctrine of Antichrist but the corrupt morals of men. Which was noted there by Richard of St. Victor when he says, “To be noted is that when he says: ‘neither repented they of their murders &.’ he has rebuked their corrupt actions.” Now these vices are wont indeed to be found in many Catholics, but much more in heretics, among whom it is very well known that sorceries in particular are practiced; but their murders and very unjust slaughterings we both read of in the histories and holy Fathers in the case of the ancient heretics, Donatists, Arians, and behold with our eyes in the case of the modern ones, who have reached a point of fierceness that often they kill themselves so that they may at the same time thwart their enemies lest they fall into their hands. Next, there can under those words be included also other infidels who do not worship idols, as Pagans who are especially wont to be given to the vices of the flesh, signified by fornications; and Jews who are more frequently involved in usury and other unjust business. And next, under those four members are included all kinds of mortal sins, of which those who did not repent, although they have some knowledge of the true God, nay although they have the true faith, will be damned. Wherein are by those words also heretical Protestant reproached who promise sinners salvation without repentance.
spacer 20. It remains for us briefly to respond to the individual calumnies of Protestants that the king has imbibed. And, to begin with, as to the worship of the demon, it is very well known that in the Roman Church it is not only condemned but those guilty of that crime are very severely punished. Nor has any Catholic doctor called it into doubt. Now Gabriel Vazquez, a man of signal doctrine and piety, does not in this dissent from Catholic doctors, but treats de facto, not de iure, the question whether one who is mocked by a demon appearing to him under some appearance or figure of Christ, and who gives worship to the sign or light that appears, could through ignorance or good intent be excused from idolatry or superstition. He also says that he can in both ways be excused, because if the ignorance is invincible, as it can be, it excuses guilt. But if the intent of the worshipper is not directed to the sign that appears but only to Christ therein represented, or called to mind, he is also excused from guilt, because in both ways he is not worshiping the demon but Christ. Which doctrine evidently supposes that the worship of a demon is per se damnable. To the second, we concede that the Roman Church is the head of Catholic doctrine about the cult and worship of images; but how great the separation is between images and idols was sufficiently treated of in Book II. To the third about murders, we say that they are indeed sometimes committed by bad Christians and that they will be damned for them if they do not repent; but the penalties that are by public authority in the Catholic Church inflicted on heretics are not murders but punishments that are just.
spacer 21. In the fourth calumny two errors are included; one is to condemn the sacramentals of the Church as superstitious and sorceries, which is evidently false and blasphemous, since sorceries rest on the virtue of the demon, and sacramentals on the help of God, on prayer, and the intercession too of the saints, and the prayer of the Church, as we touched on in book II and have elsewhere more extensively treated. blue The other error is tacitly to deny the veneration of relics and the divine miracles that are sometimes done through their means, to find fault, contrary to Scripture in Acts 19.“2 with the handkerchiefs and aprons of St. Paul, and in 5.15 with the shadow of Peter, and 4 Kings [2 Kings] 13:21 with the relics of Elisha, and against all tradition and ecclesiastical history so constant that either to deny it or not put faith in it is very insolent. But what is there added about superstitious prayers, Pontiffs, and pontificalists, is no obstacle, because they themselves condemn that superstition, and punish it using those signs or writings or words, as I said when treating of superstition.
spacer 22. The fifth accusation stirs up ancient heresies; for it seems to condemn celibacy, virginity, and monasticism; which heresies certainly, if they belong to Christian doctrine, were the faith from the beginning of the Church of Antichrist, not of Christ. For Christ himself taught virginity and poverty, and Paul counseled it; and there were from the beginning in the Church flocks of monks and monasteries of holy virgins; but these things have been extensively treated of by us in other places. Now we briefly draw the attention of the reader to making a distinction between vicious and holy leisure; for the former is an incentive to lust and to greater vices, but the latter nourishes charity and is desired by it, as Augustine says at De Civitate Dei X.19, “The love of truth seeks holy leisure.” For this leisure, although it is often free of exterior works, is not however free of divine studies, meditations, and prayers, by the aid of which it happens that lust is dominated and is not victorious, although it sometimes pulsates. And for that reason did Paul say, 1 Corinthians 7:34: “The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit.” And he later adds, v. 35, “And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.” The state, then, of the continent is not only more perfect, but is more profitable for preserving continence if a man use it rightly; nor is it to be condemned because of the particular vices of persons, which are not lacking in other states, and are sometimes for the greater common good to be tolerated, and, as far as possible, corrected; which the Roman Church observes with holiness and prudence.
spacergreen 23. But what is said in the sixth member about murders is the false calumny of Protestants, and deserves no other response; and scarcely are they capable of that who have conceived hatred and indignation against indulgences, and have been so blinded thereby that they are not able to distinguish pious and voluntary alms from thefts. For in conceding indulgences, there is not only no unjust gain but not even unfitting gain, nor is there gain that results to the temporal advantage of the one conceding the indulgence, but it is a paternal providence for coming to the aid of the common necessities of some of the faithful through the pious works of others, inducing them to works of satisfaction for sins, among which are the alms where other indigent persons can be helped. But on this matter we have disputed more at length in the proper place.
spacer 24. To the things, finally, that the king introduces in third place from Revelation chs. 10 and 11 to show that in ch. 6 the discussion is about Antichrist, the response is, first, that from the words of ch. 10, where, vv. 5- 6:, “the angel…sware by him that liveth for ever and ever…that there should be time no longer,” is at most proved that the tribulations and divine punishments, which in ch. 9 are predicted, pertain to the last times of the world; but hence it does not necessarily follow that among the plagues announced in the said ch. 9 is contained the last persecution of Antichrist, for it is enough that it be very imminent. For because men in the first plagues have neither done penance nor wished to emend, God will finally permit the last plague, after which the world will end. Hence the threat “that time should be no longer,” does not have to be understood as needing to be fulfilled immediately after the preceding plagues, but after the last one, that will already be at hand. Which is from the following words easily understood, for it is added, vv. 6 - 7≤ “that there should be no more time; but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished.” But the seventh angel does not immediately begin to sound the trumpet, but there is first sent, in ch. 11, the persecution of Antichrist, and the preaching of the witnesses against him, and at the end is added, v. 14, “The second woe is past; and behold the third woe cometh quickly.” But the second woe had begun in the trumpet of the sixth angel, for the first woe had been completed in the fifth trumpet, as had been said in ch. 9. Therefore the second woe, insofar as included in it is the persecution of Antichrist, was not complete, nor was wholly included, in the voices and predictions of the sixth trumpet, but will continue after all the things said in ch. 10 and in the first part of ch.11 up to the said words, “The second woe is past; and behold the third woe cometh quickly,” namely the woe of the day of the Last Judgment. Hence is immediately subjoined, v. 15, “And the seventh angel sounded &c.”
spacer 25. Hence if one attentively considers the words and context of John, one will easily understand that the first plagues of ch. 9 pertain to the whole world, and more to the impious and infidels and wicked than to the Church and the saints, as is indicated by the words of ch.9, v. 4, “And it was commanded them that they should not hurt” and later “save only those men which have not the seal of God on their foreheads;” but the last persecution, which is announced in ch. 11 and following, will be against the Church and against the saints, as is clear from the beginning of ch. 11. Hence we can further distinguish two times of Antichrist, one in which he will conquer the monarchy, and this time can be included in the visions of ch.9. For without doubt he will bring calamities and plagues to the world by his wars and armies, wherewith he will trouble the whole word; and during that time he will not so show himself contrary to Christ as when after he has obtained the monarchy, nay he will proceed with falsehood and with pretence, as the most ancient saints also taught. But the other time is of persecution of the Church, and about this without doubt John begins to speak in ch. 11. Finally, if we were to grant the king that all the predictions of the fifth and sixth trumpets pertain to the person of Antichrist, and that they will be at the end of the world, we would thence more evidently conclude that those plagues have not yet begun, and that Antichrist has not appeared, or begin to stir up his wars; or at least that he could not have begun a thousand years ago from the times of Boniface III, for the world would already have ended, as was demonstrated above.



1 - 2. Outline of Revelation ch.13 as to the first part of it. spacer3. The four properties of the beast that John narrates he saw are shaped by the King of England to fit the Roman Pontiff. spacer4. Response to the first point. spacer 5. Response to the second and third points. spacer 6. The king badly compares empires with pagan and Christian Rome.spacer 7. Outline of the second part of ch. 13 of Revelation.spacer 8. The next beast that John narrates he saw signifies Antichrist and his emissaries. spacer9. John also speaks of some primary helper of Antichrist. spacer10. This false prophet will ensure that Antichrist will be worshipped as God. spacer11. The mark of the beast will be a sign whereby the supporters of Antichrist will be openly acknowledged. spacer 12. The aforesaid exposition is strengthened by the consent of the Fathers. spacer13. So that there may be no place for the cross, the mark of Antichrist will be imprinted by the false prophet on people’s foreheads. spacer14. The metaphorical expositions of the king are by the letter proved to be wrong. spacer 15. The beast properly signifies an individual man. spacer 16. The Roman Church does not have the horns of a lamb, that is, hypocrisy. Nor does it teach or has ever taught errors like the dragon. spacer17. The darts of the heretics are turned back against themselves. spacer 18 - 19. The signs that King James says are made for strengthening the authority of the Pontiffs. spacer20. Miracles were done formerly by many saints. spacer21. Miracles are not done primarily for the authority of the Pontiff, but for the glory of Christ and the confirmation of the faith. spacer22. Excommunications discharged by the Pontiffs King James makes up to be the fire from heaven. spacer23. The fire in John does not signify excommunication. spacer24. Instance. Solution. spacer25. When the Pontiff is venerated, the image of the beast is not worshipped. spacer26. The words of Revelation are weighed. spacer27. The mark of the beast is fabricated by the king to be obedience to the Pontiff. John is speaking of a permanent sign, not of mere profession. spacer28. No one without the mark of Antichrist will be admitted into human contracts. spacer29. King James’ opinion about the number of the name of Antichrist.spacer30. It is undeniable that that number is the name of Antichrist.spacer31. The number is not of the time of the coming of Antichrist. spacer32. Boniface reclaimed from a usurper the name already given to the Pontiff Leo.spacer 33. The king contends that the word ‘Latin’ contains the number of Antichrist.

spacerTHIRD description, as it were, of Antichrist is gathered by the king from Revelation ch. 13, and he labors much and runs far to and fro to accommodate it to the Roman Pontiff; but in truth he labors in vain, and with the more license he speaks and accommodates the words of Scripture on behalf of his own decision and feeling, the more he shows the error wherein he dwells and involuntarily impugns it. But before we consider his discourse, we propose to put before our eyes the sum of that chapter according to the proper and more received literal sense. For it has two parts. In the first John narrates that he saw a beast rising out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and a blasphemous name upon its head. About which beast he says it is like a leopard, and has feet as a bear’s and a mouth as a lion’s mouth; and the dragon gave it all its virtue, and one of its heads was cut through to death, and the mortal blow was cured; and the whole earth in wonder worshipped the beast. And later John describes the power given to this beast for speaking great things and blasphemies, and for persecuting the saints for forty-two months. And these more or less are the things that are in the first vision and part of that chapter contained.
spacer 2. Now about this first beast, what it is or represents, and in what sense are to be taken the things said about the mortal wound given to it and cured, and about the time of it persecution, we spoke in chapter 6, where we impugned the king’s metaphors; and therefrom we proved that the vision cannot be accommodated to the Pontiff, nay that therefrom the beast had not yet appeared. Yet, nevertheless, it is necessary in this place to refute some things that are insultingly accommodated by mere abuse to the Pontiff, and that only Protestant and adulterators of Scripture have put in the mouth of the king.
spacer 3. Stinging the Roman Pontiff, then, he says that the beast appeared like a leopard, “both on account of the color, because it is sprinkled with spots, that is, infected with corruptions, and because it has a certain adulterated reason for ruling, in appearance spiritual, in fact secular, since it is exalted above the kings of the earth.” Second, he says that it appeared like a lion-leopard, “which is a spurious beast, a mix of lion and leopard.” Third, he says that it was seen “with the feet of a bear to signify its strength, but with the mouth of a lion to make clear its rapacity and savage nature.” Fourth, he expounds that it opened its mouth in blasphemies against God and waged war on the saints, because, he says, “all the earth must worship it, which was never demanded of anyone by the old pagan Rome, which did not disdain to call the kings joined in compact with it courteously allies and friends.” Now, he proves that this worship is given to the Pontiff from the manner of inaugurating a Pontiff, and he calls as witness Cardinal Bellarmine himself.
spacer 4. However, on the first point, the interpretation itself or the analogy, it is, when compared with the truth and the letter, not apt or sufficient, because Antichrist will not be “infected with corruptions,” but will be everywhere most corrupt, nor will he usurp temporal rule under the appearance or shadow of spiritual power, but will first and chiefly seize temporal power and will usurp it with violence, and then he will also arrogate divinity to himself, as is understood partly from Daniel and clearly from Paul, as was touched on in the previous chapter and as will again be said in the following. Hence Richard of St. Victor, Book IV on Revelation ch. 4, understanding far otherwise by the beast the pagan empire of the Gentiles persecuting the Church, says that “the comparison with the spotted leopard is because of the diverse assertion of philosophers,” that is, because of their diverse superstition. But Ambrose there says that “the hypocrisy of Antichrist” is designated in the reality of the colors, “for since he will be a most wicked man, he will decorate himself in diverse virtues so that the may more easily deceive any foolish men.” Bede, however, and Primasius, along with Tyconius homil. 11, say that in the spots of the leopard is represented “the diversity of Gentiles who follow Antichrist,” either because it will be a multitude gathered from diverse peoples, or because it will be spotted with diverse heresies, as St. Anselm says. Hence if the spots of the leopard represent vices, they designate, not any defects whatever, but the universal vices that will exist in Antichrist. Add that Antichrist is compared because of his speed with the leopard, because he will in a very short time obtain empire and trample everything under foot. Just as in Daniel 7 Alexander the Great is for this cause represented by the leopard, as St. Jerome and others expound. Again, because of his cruelty in shedding human blood. No one, however, unless he be very impudent, will dare to fabricate the like properties in the Roman Pontiff. Nay, neither the King of England, nor all the wiles of heretics could have pointed out the corruptions that they fashion in the Apostolic See; for the things that pertain to doctrine are not corruptions, although they are judged such by men corrupted by conflicting errors and heresies; but as to what has regard to morals, they are for the greatest part fashioned and exaggerated by the same enemies of the Church; and if any corruptions of this sort have sometimes been found in prelates of the Church, they pertain to personal and human defects, which do not stain the See itself.
spacer 5. Hence, the things the king said in the second and third point about the likeness of the lion-leopard and the bear’s feet, we do not take seriously; for they agree aptly with the true Antichrist. Now from the same properties and their signification it is proved that the description cannot be accommodated to the Pontiff; for why might Boniface III or some other Pontiff his successor be called spurious, since he was so neither in his origin nor in his election, but was legitimately created Pope? Or what rapacity or savage nature has been found in them, that they should be said to have bear’s feet? For Antichrist is said to be going to have bear’s feet, because “it stamped the residue with the feet of it,” as is said in Daniel 7:7. But what the king adds in the fourth place about the worship of the Pontiff is ridiculous; for he is not worshipped as God but as Supreme Prelate of the Church and Vicar of God. For what is it to show worship? For Paul says, 1 Timothy 5:17, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor.” Why then is it a wonder that he who presides over the whole Church should be held worthy of great veneration, especially since all that veneration redounds to the honor of Christ?
spacer 6. Wrongly, then, does the king compare pagan Rome with Christian, for the empire of the former is as far from that of the latter as the earthly is different from the celestial, the corporal from the spiritual, and the temporal from the eternal, as was abundantly shown in Book III. The Roman emperors, then, were only temporal lords, and possessed a limited domain, and for that reason they treated the kings of other domains not as subjects but courteously as allies; but the Roman Pontiffs are spiritual Prelates and Kings, and have the whole world for their territory, and all the sheep of Christ for their flock, and therefore can all Christian kings be called their subjects; and yet they do not disdain to call them (unless they be heretics or schismatics), not merely courteously, but also very humanely as sons, and also sometimes as lords. Nay, sometimes they have done it with so much submission of mind that the king and Protestants abuse their words so as to subject them to the emperors, as we noted in Book III about Pope Gregory. And these things are enough about the first beast.
spacer 7. In the second part of the same ch.13 John narrates, v.11, that he saw “another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon,” about which he says much. First that he makes all the habitants in the earth to worship the first beast. Second, that was given to him to do “great wonders,” and in particular “so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.” Third, that by these signs “he deceiveth them that dwell on the earth…that they should make an image” of the first beast. Fourth, that was given to him “to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” Fifth, that “he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark (of the beast) in their right hand, or in their foreheads; and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark of the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Sixth is added the mystery of the number of his name in these words: “for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred three score and six.” All which things are so obscure that they might scarcely be guessed at by human ingenuity, much less comprehended. And, as Cardinal Bellarmine rightly noted, an evident sign that they have not been fulfilled is that today they are as obscure and enigmatic as when they were first written; now prophecies that are made in enigmas, although they are obscure beforehand, are, at least when they are fulfilled, understood and made clear, otherwise they would be useless; since therefore these are as obscure as they were before, it is sign that they have not been fulfilled. And yet the King of England in his own manner makes many accommodations such as he thinks are adapted to his opinion or to disparaging the Roman See. But before we reply to him, we will put forward the proper and literal sense of this vision, so that by comparison with it the error of his invented interpretation may more evidently appear.
spacer 8. This latter beast, then, either represents the false prophets and preachers generally of Antichrist, whom he himself will send to give persuasion of his divinity and to persecute the saints, as is there expounded by Primas, Bede, Anselm, and others, and as Gregory thinks, Moralia XIII.26, otherwise ch. 36; or it at least signifies someone among them who is extraordinary and an excellent magician, and potent also in his strength and his army, who through seduction by signs and compulsion by force will turn men to worship Antichrist. Thus Irenaeus, V.28, after he has related the first vision of this chapter, subjoins about this latter, “Then afterwards, and about his armor bearer, whom he calls also the false prophet, he spoke, John said, as a dragon and worked all the power of the first beast for him and in his sight.” The same opinion is approved by Andreas Caesar, alleging in his ch. 37 also Irenaeus. But Aretas also in his ch. 37, although at the beginning he seem to understand Antichrist also through this latter beast, afterwards when he makes the thing clearer he calls him “the precursor of Antichrist,” and distinguishes between them, comparing them with John the Baptist and Christ. Victorinus too understands in the singular the false prophet who will do wonders and lying signs before Antichrist. And this opinion is now more frequently followed by the learned writers he refers to, and he is followed by Malvenda, De Antichristo VIII.19. But Ambrose on Revelation says under disjunction that this beast is either the many preachers of Antichrist or one worse than the rest.
spacer 9. But although it is true that under the prophet called false by antonomasia others are sketched, nevertheless it cannot be denied but that John is speaking about some individual man, a signal supporter of Antichrist, and a deceiver of men, both because the context itself, soundly looked at, sufficiently indicates it, and also because ch. 19 the same John clearly points it out when he says, v. 20, “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” Where he is evidently describing the same false prophet whom he had seen under the name of a beast rise up from the earth, and he is speaking about him as an individual man equally with Antichrist; and he numbers them as two men damned in a special way, and distinguishes them from the rest of the followers of Antichrist when he subjoins, v. 21, “And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword &c.” There is no doubt, then, but that by that second beast a particular man and extraordinary preacher of Antichrist is signified, whose two chief properties are designated by the two conditions of the beast. For he is said to have horns as of a lamb because of hypocrisy; for he will show himself as mild and will be a most cruel persecutor, or he will show himself as preaching the true Christ but he will speak as a dragon, because he will preach Antichrist, moved and driven by the dragon which “gave to the first beast all his virtue and power.” And thus are those two metaphorical properties expounded by Irenaeus, Andreas, Aretas, and others mentioned above, and Ticonius, otherwise Augustine, homil. 11 on Revelation, although he accommodates them to all heretics. And of the same opinion is Gregory in the place cited above, when attributing the same properties, as if by participation, to all the false preachers of Antichrist.
spacer 10. The rest, indeed, of what John predicts about this false prophet, although the Fathers and Catholic expositors admit it to be obscure and difficult of understanding, yet all who examine the literal sense of it study to preserve therein, as far as possible, the propriety of the words. Therefore, when he says that that beast will make all those who dwell in the earth to worship the first beast, they understand it of divine and true worship [latria], for Antichrist himself desires to be worshipped with this worship, as was shown in chapter 17 from Scripture and the Fathers. Again, when he says that he will do signs, they expound the words of fictive sensible miracles and of lying wonders, according to Christ’s words in Matthew 24:24, “For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders.” For just as these words with respect to false prophets will be fulfilled by antonomasia in Antichrist, so John thinks they must be fulfilled, with respect to false prophets, by this precursor of Antichrist; but that Christ is speaking of external signs appearing to and deceiving the senses no one has ever doubted. Hence when John further says that the second beast will make, v. 13, “fire come down from heaven,” they all understand it also of true descent in place, and of true fire, or at any rate of a sensible body having the appearance as of fire. Because this is also consequent to the first interpretation of the signs generally, and is in conformity with the propriety of the words, and there is no necessity to make up other metaphors, especially since John says that the fire will descend “in the sight of men.” Likewise, what John adds in the third place about the image of the first beast is understood of his proper sensible image or of a statue of Antichrist, which they will make who believe in him and will place in temples and perhaps in the temple in Jerusalem, so that it and Antichrist as true God therein may be worshipped. And with the same propriety is it understood that this false prophet will give life to the image so that it speak; for by pact with the demon can this very easily be done, just as in the histories it is very well known that unclean spirits were wont to speak in the sculptures and idols of the Gentiles.
spacer 11. Now about the mark of Antichrist and of its being imprinted on the hands and forehead, all agree also in this, that it will be in men a sensible sign accommodated to external profession of his religion, and perhaps as a striking sign of apostasy or departure from the Christian religion into the gathering of the antichristian sect; although no one can divine in particular of what sort that mark will be. For the former is required by the truth and propriety of the words of John, but this latter is not explained by them, nor has it been revealed in other places of Scripture, nor can it be investigated by reason. Finally, about the name of the beast too all teach that it will be of such sort that it is clear from the letters that, when reduced to an account of numbers according to the manner of the Greek language, it contains the number 666. But because Greek letters can be composed in a variety of ways so as to give that number, the said expositors add that it cannot be known of what sort Antichrist’s name will be until he appear, and then the sense and truth of the prophecy may be known from the fact. For although it now happen that someone’s name consists of letters that, according to the Greek tongue, give that number, as some have tried to show about the name of Mahomet or of Luther, it is not a sufficient sign, if other things are lacking, of Antichrist, because it is very ambiguous and equivocal and so must be joined together with the other things.
spacer 12. Now this brief paraphrase or literal exposition of the words of John I take from the authors just mentioned. For Irenaeus in the said ch.2 8 says of this false prophet that he will perform signs “with the working of magic.” And in the same place he adjoins the rest of the words of John, and understands them simply and properly without any interpretation. But in ch.30 he teaches extensively what we have just said about the number of the name. Victorinus too on Revelation says on the sign of fire: “These things magicians do also today through renegade angels.” And he adds: “He will also cause a golden image to be set up to Antichrist in the temple in Jerusalem, and the renegade angel will enter into it and will give out therefrom voices and oracles.” And about the name and the sign of the mark he thinks in the same way. Almost the same is contained in Aretas in his ch. 27 where he plainly says of the fire that it will so come down that it is seen “by bewitchment of the eyes of those who look upon it,” and of the mark he says that it will be “the carving of a pernicious name,” and that it must be given “as a sign whereby men may or may not do business,” supposing it to be a sensible sign. And Andreas, ch. 27 says, “Whatever the precursor of the false Christ will do to deceive men, all this he will do through tricks and incantations, so that Antichrist may have testimony from a man who has accomplished such great miracles.” And later, “It is not wonderful or new if in the eyes of men an impostor should cause fire to come down from heaven.” And he adduces the example of fire set alight by virtue of the devil or fallen down from above to consume Job’s herds, Job 1:16. But afterwards he interprets the other words about the image proper and its speaking, and he confirms it with examples of similar illusions of demons. Again he speaks of the mark as of a sensible sign, and he understands that it will have to be imprinted properly on men as a necessary sign for buying and selling necessary things, “so that,” he says, “at least on account of want of things necessary for life, he may force to a violent death” those, that is, who have refused the mark.
spacer 13. And also, finally, in ch.38 he treats of what we said about the name of Antichrist, and he confirms it with the authority of Hippolytus. “He will bestow a mark on the right hand and the forehead, lest anyone with his right hand draw the precious cross on his forehead.” Now later he thinks that the mark will be the name of Antichrist himself sensibly imprinted with a seal on the forehead and hand. But about the name he denies that of what kind it will be can be known. Ephrem speaks likewise of the mark of Antichrist in his tractate De Antichristo at measure or §2, “On a man’s right hand or the forehead will be impressed this his impious mark, so that a man may have no ability to sign himself with the sign of Christ.” And in the following measure he likewise expounds the signs or false wonders of external sensible illusions. And finally in the last measure he repeats the same about the mark, thinking that it will be a sensible sign “which the adversaries of Christ will assume in place of the cross of the Savior.” But he speaks indistinctly about them, as to whether they are to be done by Antichrist or his false prophet, and he seems to attribute them all to Antichrist. Next, Primasius, Bede, Rupert, and others on Revelation, nay all the moderns too, agree on the things we have said, although in expounding the mark and name of Antichrist they deliver opinions various and differing among themselves; which variety is no obstacle to our intention and therefore there is no need to report or consider it, and one writer can be looked at for all of them, Malvenda, De Antichristo VIII.18 and 19.
spacer 14. It remains for us to compare to this simple sense of Scripture the king’s mystical and metaphorical expositions, or his accommodations for ill-speaking. For he understands by this second beast the Apostolic Church obedient to the Roman Pontiff, which he, in the manner of the impious Protestants, calls Apostate. And yet he subjoins about it, “Whose origin is more firm and more stable, so that it be what may visibly succeed to the true Church.” In which words, compelled by the truth of the matter, or not noticing what he was saying, he professes the Roman Church to be true and Catholic. For that is the true Church which visibly succeeds to the more ancient true Church, as was shown in Book I. Hence the comparison whereby this Church is said to be “more firm and more stable,” if it be made in contrast to the synagogues of Satan and the congregations of Protestants and apostates, is made rightly and very truly; but if it be made in contrast to the Apostolic See, it is not rightly made by saying “more,” but should be made by saying “equally.” For the true Church cannot be separated from the rock, nor vice versa; and therefore the succession of Peter is as firm and as stable as the duration of the true and visible Church is certain; but both are as firm as the word of Christ is certain, “the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16).
spacer 15. But as to what concerns the interpretation of the beast, we have sufficiently shown that, in its proper sense, it signifies a certain single individual man. But we concede that it can mystically signify any congregation at all of impious heretics and apostates who follow and preach Antichrist; whether, as we reported from Tyconius, it be said generally and in type that by this beast all sects and ministers of heretics are signified, or whether it be said of those who preach the individual and proper Antichrist, as expounded by many Catholics. In this manner, then, it is true that the beast is the apostate congregation. But this apostate congregation is now multiple; for every synagogue of Satan gathered under the Christian name is an apostate congregation; and such is every congregation of Lutherans, Calvinists, Puritans, and Protestants; and that the Anglican pseudo-Church is similar has been clearly shown in Book I from its state and its fall.
spacer 16. But in order to show that the Roman Church is represented by the beast, the king says in the first place that it has “horns like those of a lamb because it recalls the bride of Christ and shows a defender for itself.” But the Church recalls these things, not in hypocrisy, but in true faith and worship of Christ and imitation of him, wherein it differs much from the beast. He adds: “In truth, however, it speaks like a dragon because it teaches damnable and diabolical doctrines.” But this by him is never shown; by us, on the contrary, it has been sufficiently proved in Book I that this testimony is not only false but even heretical, because the true and visible Church of Christ can never fall from the faith, since it is the pillar and ground of the truth on account of the promise of Christ saying, “I will be with you unto the end of the world; and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Also in Book II, chapter 3, not only have we vindicated this Church from all the errors that the king invents in it, but we have also proved that, because of the contrary heresies, the Anglican Church, as far as it is now militant under its king, is apostate and schismatic.
spacer 17. Wherefore, before we proceed to other things, we please to advise the reader to consider with how much greater and truer foundation the royal metaphors can be turned back against him and his pitiable kingdom. For why shall we not say that the first beast is Henry VIII and his successors who imitate him and have on their heads the name of blasphemy, namely “head of the Church,” supreme not only in temporal things but also in spiritual? Why again shall Henry not be said to have been spotted like a leopard since he befouled the profession and doctrine of the faith wherein he was strong with the most ugly spots of lust, schism, and at length heresy? Nay he also seemed to imitate the leopard in speed and ferocity; for in a very brief time he made almost his whole realm apostate, and killed with savagery eminent men constant in faith. Next, much more truly is the King of England said to usurp, by an adulterated reason for ruling, spiritual power under the appearance of temporal power, and to solicit an undue cult and worship when he wishes to be recognized, obeyed, and honored as head of his own Church. And in this way can the rest be easily accommodated. In like way, too, we will say that the second beast is the Anglican Church fallen from the true faith, venerating the king as its spiritual head, and speaking forth infinite words of blasphemy against the true Catholic Church of God and the Vicar of Christ; or certainly that second beast we will say is the flock of ministers and false prophets applauding the king, seducing the inhabitants there to worship the first beast by recognizing it as head of the Church. These then and the like things can be both thought up easily and said with greater foundation; both because they are true and very well known in all the world, and because, although the King of England not be Antichrist, he can justly be numbered among his types and precursors, since he persecutes Christ in his Church and in his Vicar, which, although he cannot accomplish in deeds, he tries to effect in words and insults.
spacer 18. From here the king advances further, and what John says of the signs and wonders to be done by this second beast, to seduce the nations and draw them to worship the first beast, he accommodates to the miracles of the Catholic Church, which he affirms to be “false and lying wonders” and done to win over authority and power to the Pontiff. Which things, since they are said against all divine and human authority and faith without proof, would seem rather in need of being condemned than refuted. However it is pleasing to ask briefly whether they believe that in the Church of Christ true virtues and true miracles could have been done after the six hundred and sixth year or not? If they deny they could have been done, they mock the promises of Christ and, for their own choice, set a limit to them. For Christ said indefinitely, Mark 16:17, “These signs shall follow them that believe; in my name they shall cast of devils &c.” And elsewhere, Matthew 17:20, “if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed &c. nothing shall be impossible for you.” And elsewhere, John 14:12, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.” These promises, then, cannot be limited to a definite time, otherwise anyone might say that only the Apostles could do true miracles, or something similar; which is very absurd. Therefore, not only for the first centuries of the Church, but for every age did Christ concede to his Church that such true signs would, at opportune times, be done in it.
spacer 19. They will say that these promises were made to faith, and therefore that power lasted in the Church as long as the true faith lasted in it; but after it was corrupted, they ceased, and false miracles began. But this is to fall into another pit of errors; for if the Church has begun to lack the true faith, the Church has perished, contrary to the words of Christ:. “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” They will say that the true Church visible has perished; but it has already been sufficiently shown that the true Church of Christ is visible and that to it Christ promised perpetuity up to the end. Besides the fact that there ought to be signs and sensible miracles, and therefore true miracles cannot be done except by the visible Church; therefore the promises of Christ were made to it, and in it will last forever the power promised by Christ.
spacer 20. If then they cannot deny the power, why do they deny the true miracles that are in these times done in the Church? For no fewer signs of truth are seen in them than in those that were done in the ancient Church. For, to begin with, they were done by very holy men, Benedict, Bernard, Francis, Anthony, and others the like. Next, they were frequently done to bring conviction of the faith and introduce it in new provinces, as is reported of England by Gregory, the almost immediate follower of Boniface III; and that like things were afterwards done in the same province in confirmation of the same faith is told by Bede, Histor. V.13; and the ecclesiastical annals report that with the cooperation of like miracles the faith was after the times of Boniface introduced in Flanders, Holland, and other provinces. Besides, in the later miracles the same indications of truth are found as were found in the earlier, namely in the miracle of raising the dead, in the evidence of a dead corpse lying open to view, and true revivification by lapse of time and confirmed by many acts of life and public conversation. Next, these histories are proved to be no less worthy of faith than the miracles; therefore rashly and impiously are they all judged false.
spacer 21. But as to what the king says, that these miracles of the Church were done to confer and exalt the power of the Pontiff, it is not so; for they are ordinarily done in confirmation and propagation of the true faith, or to the glory and honor of Christ; often also they are the effects of true and firm faith, to which Christ promised:, “If ye have faith as a mustard seed &c.” Sometimes are they done by the mercy of God wanting to grant miraculously such benefits to those who need and ask for them. But I say that this is ordinarily so, because since the article about the primacy of the Pontiff pertains to the dogmas of the faith, and since knowledge of it is most necessary for confirmation of the true faith and Church, true miracles in confirmation of that truth could also have been done whenever they were, according to the disposition of divine providence, opportune or necessary. And finally, although true miracles are not always done for that end, nevertheless insofar as they are done by ministers of the Church obedient to the Pontiff and preaching with his authority, they do sufficiently confirm the same truth about his primacy. Who then may not see how execrable is the calumny that the miracles of the Catholic Church are comparable with the signs of the Antichristian beast?
spacer 22. But because among the signs of the beast John designated a special one when he says, v. 13:, “so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,” the king affixes an assuredly egregious interpretation to these words when he says, “Namely the thunderbolt of excommunication, whose force is so great that it is able to drive princes from their thrones, so much so that all are to be killed and burned for heretics who refuse to worship the image of the beast, that is, his supreme power circumscribed by no limits.” In which things a double metaphor is indicated, which if it is adduced in allegorical sense, is of little moment for conviction; for it is contemned with the same ease as it is invented, because it has been thought up by Protestants only for ill-speaking; but if the sense is proposed as literal, it is very ridiculous and repugnant to the intention of the Holy Spirit and to what the Protestants themselves say. I will briefly show both.
spacer 23. For the first metaphor is whereby “fire comes down from heaven” is said by metaphor to be the thunderbolt of excommunication. But this metaphor, to begin with, is novel, without foundation in Scripture, or in the Fathers or expositors, or in the common way of speaking. But who would believe that John used the words only in that metaphorical signification which Protestants have recently fabricated for their pleasure and solely for making mockery? Next John sets it down as a new sign, singular, and worthy of admiration; but to discharge an excommunication is not new, nor singular, since it is done even by heretics themselves, hence it contains no admiration since it happens every day. Nay if that is the sign of Antichrist, antichristianism assuredly began before Boniface III. For Innocent I first discharged an excommunication against the emperor. Next, the beast will make fire come down from heaven with the art and power of the demon; but the thunderbolt of excommunication is done by the power conceded by Christ, and in virtue of his words, Matthew 18:17, “but if he neglect to hear the Church &c.” Therefore John is not speaking of this sign, nor is the metaphor likely.
spacer 24. The king will perhaps say that these things are true of ordinary and just excommunication, but that he is speaking of the thunderbolt of that excommunication “whose force is so great that it is able to drive princes from their thrones.” But on the contrary there is, first, that even such excommunication can be just and be done by legitimate power, as was shown above. Yet in truth the excommunication itself is improperly said to drive from the throne; for although those two effects proceed as two punishments from the same power and are imposed at the same time, they are distinct. Now, however, putting on the manner of the king, we will speak of them as one. Therefore, that thunderbolt too is done by true and celestial power, and it is not a lying but a true sign, as we have proved; it is repugnant, then, with metaphor. Second, this sign, that is this excommunication, is not discharged or done in the Church by preachers or the faithful obedient to the Pontiff but by the Pontiff alone; and so according to the royal accommodation it is not done by the second beast but by the first; but the sign of making fire come down from heaven is not attributed by John to the first beast but specifically to the second; therefore such interpretation mixes up the beasts.
spacer 25. The second metaphor of the king dwells on the “image of the beast,” by which the king wishes the supreme power of the Pope to be signified. But this metaphor is easily refuted by almost the same arguments, both because it has no foundation of authority or of reason or proof, and because to recognize and venerate this supreme authority of the Pope is not new in the Church of Christ, but all the Pontiffs preceding Boniface put on that image and used that power, and all the truly faithful obeyed him, as was extensively proved in Book III. Beyond this, however, this metaphor is combated by the words, v. 14, “saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast.” For who among papists, as those fellows speak, or more truly who among Catholics has ever taught the faithful to make or confer power on the Pontiff, since rather we all constantly preach that Christ alone confers it? That image, then, is not pontifical power but something that can be made by the art and hands of men. Nor can the king say that to make an image is nothing else than to recognize and confess power; for John expressly distinguishes two things, making the image and worshipping it; however, with respect to power, to recognize power is to venerate it; therefore making the image is something else; hence it is more or less evident that in the words “make an image” there is no metaphor, as I said above. Which is also very much proved by the following words, v. 15, “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should speak.” For these things plainly show that the talk is of a material and sensible image. For how can it be imagined that the Church gives life to the power of the Pontiff so that it should be able to speak or do anything the like?
spacer 26. Finally, I consider in those words a double sign, one of making fire come down from heaven, and this sign the second beast is said to do, not for coercion, but for seduction, so as to lead those that dwell on the earth to the first beast and to worship his image, as is clear from the words, v. 14, “and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast.” However, the thunderbolt of excommunication is not pronounced so as to lead men by seduction, but by force and coercion; which becomes greater if along with excommunication removal from the kingship is conjoined. Therefore the metaphor of excommunication does not square with such a sign. Next, the other sign, namely to give life to the image of the beast and make it speak, although it too be for seduction, nevertheless proceeds to coercion, for there is added, v. 15, “and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” And here too the metaphor cannot be accommodated; for the Church does not give life or speech to the Pontiff so that his power may be extended to killing rebels, but rather he himself commits this power to his ministers; it is abuse, then, of Scripture, not interpretation.
spacer 27. The king next proceeds further to accommodate the mark of Antichrist to the Pontiff, and he says that the mark of the beast is the profession of obedience which is made to the Supreme Pontiff. But Paul, when he advises the faithful, Hebrews 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you,” did not judge that the profession of ecclesiastical and Christian obedience is the mark of Antichrist but of Christ. And we can with truer reason say that the oath of fidelity whereby the king oppresses the Catholics of his realm is the mark of Antichrist, whenever he compels them, under appearance of profession of civil obedience due to himself, to deny obedience to the Vicar of Christ. Besides, beyond the error on which the accommodation is founded, it is repugnant to the words of John. First, because by the profession of obedience either there is understood only the mode itself of living under obedience to the Pontiff, or there is understood some special formula of professing this obedience. The first sense is not according to the mind of John, because he speaks expressly of some sign worn by the followers of Antichrist, whereby they profess his sect and obedience, as was seen above and as is very evident from the very words. But if by the profession be understood a special form of professing obedience to the Pontiff, it does not square with the words of John. First, because John says, v. 16, “all both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond” will wear the mark of the beast; but a special profession of obedience to the Pontiff is not exacted of all the faithful, small and great, but from ecclesiastical pastors or doctors, or others established in a similar rank.
spacer 28. Second, the mark of Antichrist should be so common and familiar to all that without it no one is permitted to buy or sell even the necessaries for life. Hence the Fathers note that it is imprinted for the end that all men are compelled to receive it even for the support of life, as now in England Catholics are compelled to go the churches of heretics, or to profess the oath of fidelity, lest they be deprived of goods necessary for life or of life itself; but in the Roman Church profession of obedience to the Pontiff is not required so that men may be able to buy and sell, not even under compulsion of losing the necessaries for life, but on special occasions when it is demanded for the safety of taking up doctrine, rank, or office; there is then no comparison of this mark to that profession. Third, the mark of Antichrist will be some permanent sign worn on the hands or imprinted on the forehead, so that it can be seen for the purpose of admitting men to the said contracts, but profession of obedience is a transient sign (so to say), which is displayed on one occasion when taking up some office, but is afterwards worn neither on the hands nor the forehead. The accommodation of the mark then is frivolous.
spacer 29. He comes finally to the number of the name of Antichrist and applies two expositions. One is that the number is not of the name but of the person of Antichrist, that is, that the number need not be contained in the letters of his name, but in his very person, because within the years of that number, namely 666, Antichrist will have come. Which exposition he gathers from the fact that the same number, which had first been said to be, v. 17, “the number of his name,” is afterwards called, v. 18, “the number of the beast,” at the place: “Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast,” and at once is added: “for it is the number of a man.” And in these latter words the king seems to understand by the man Christ the Lord; for he says that according to this exposition it is said to be the number of a man because it is “the number of the years of the Lord.” Now he says that in this way the prophecy has been fulfilled in Boniface III, “who first,” he says, “named himself universal archbishop, by which title St. Gregory had predicted that Antichrist will have to be known.” But that exposition indeed is not new; for John Annius and certain others used it to show that Mahomet was Antichrist. And although we were to allow it to the king, it would be of no importance, as I will immediately say.
spacer 30. But it cannot be denied that John foretold that the number 666 will be in the name of Antichrist, for he said expressly, “or the number of his name,” that is, contained in the letters of the name, and thus have all interpreters understood those words. This, then, cannot be denied, though there be nothing repugnant in the same number of the name indicating mystically some property pertaining to the person. Hence, if it might stand with the truth of other prophecies or of history that signified by that number is the time of the rise of Antichrist according to the number of the years of the Lord, or the time of duration of his throne, as others said of Mahomet, this would indeed not be repugnant to the words of John. However, that it was not so in the case of Mahomet was shown by the fact itself, as Pereira showed. But about Antichrist proper it is clear from other prophecies, according to which he could neither come so quickly nor will his throne last so long a time, as was shown above.
spacer 31. Now according to the accommodation of Protestants it is clear that the number cannot be referred to the time of the duration of Antichrist, because by their opinion he has already lasted more than 1,000 years. For that reason, therefore, the king has striven to accommodate the number to the time of his origin. However even this sense has no foundation in the text, for the same number, which John first called “the number of the name of the beast,” he immediately calls, for the sake of brevity, “the number of the beast;” but when he adds that the same is “the number of a man,” by “man” he does not understand Christ; for whoever thought that? Or on what foundation can it be affirmed? Add that neither in that sense does the truth respond to the number, because Boniface was not on the See in 666. He replies first that the number must not be computed from the year of the birth of Christ but from the year in which Pompey destroyed the temple. But neither can that subsist with reason; for why from that time rather than from any other you like should the number be counted? Nor is it consistently said, because then it will not be the number of the years of the Lord, as he had said just before. And for that reason he responds in another way, that sixty years after Boniface the reign of Antichrist was confirmed and thus was that number completed. But this is no less frivolous and willful, because neither did the Pontiffs in those sixty years after Boniface more usurp the name of Universal Bishop than in the hundred or more following, nor did they more increase in power or dignity.
spacer 32. Besides which it is also false that Boniface usurped the name of Universal Bishop, because he only vindicated it from someone else who was usurping it, and showed that it could fit his own See alone, although it is not clear that he used the title. But if this be called usurpation, then not he first, but Pope Leo many years before, will have to be said to have usurped that name; because the Synod of Chalcedon both bestowed on him that title, as I reported above from Gregory, and he himself in his letters names himself Bishop of the Universal Church, which is the same. Next, it is false that Gregory said that Antichrist will have to be known by the title of Universal Bishop, but the words of Gregory are:, “Whoever calls himself, or desires to be called, universal Priest, is in his exaltation a precursor of Antichrist, because he in his pride sets himself before the rest.” But in what sense Gregory condemned that name was made clear above. But whatever was the case about the word and the use thereof, it is clearly gathered from the place of Gregory that Boniface was not Antichrist, but at most can it be inferred that he was exalted, or was by a certain imitation a precursor of Antichrist, from which it plainly follows that he was not Antichrist. The king certainly might better consider the fact that Gregory there puts as a note of Antichrist that “he will call himself God,” and that “he wishes to seem God above all men.” Which neither Boniface nor any Pontiff has hitherto done. And we can more truly object to him the opinion of Athanasius in epist. Ad Solitar. Vit. Agent. mentioned above, where among the images of Antichrist he puts “a secular prince usurping ecclesiastical primacy over bishops.”
spacer 33. Finally, another exposition of the number of the name of Antichrist is allowed by the king, and he accommodates it to the Pontiff, because in the name ‘Latinus’ written in Greek letters the number is contained. “Which,” he says, “rightly accords with the Roman Church, with the Roman faith, and with the Latin liturgy.” But how violent and frivolous all these are is patent. And to begin with, Bellarmine noted that λατίνος is written not with ει but with ι, and in this way the number is not rendered. Yet, nevertheless, Aretas in his ch. 38 on Revelation put among the other names that can be thought up for Antichrist the name Λατείνος, but he at once added that it ought to be written with a diphthong (namely, contrary to the manner and propriety of Scripture) so as to be able to give that number. Next, John spoke of the proper name of Antichrist, but there was no Pontiff who was called by the proper name of Latinus, yet by the common name even the King of England is Latin by name, and Luther and Calvin were Latin; why then is the Pontiff more to be reckoned Antichrist because of the name Latin than any one of these? All these things, then, which are said of Antichrist and of his skirmisher in that ch. 13, clearly show, when soundly understood, that Antichrist, insofar as he is there described, has not yet appeared, and is miles away from the Roman Pontiff; but the twisted and violent metaphorical interpretations of Protestants betray with no less clarity the error in which those blind fellows dwell.

spacerCAPUT 20


1. Introduction. spacer2. In Revelation, as in other prophecies, the order of things is sometimes not observed.spacer3. The darkness in the plague of the fifth vial is sensible, not intelligible. spacer4. Protestants unskillfully confound the vial poured out into the Euphrates. spacer5 - 6. The kings under discussion will not fight against Antichrist but for him. spacer7. King James compares the alumni of the Society of Jesus to little frogs croaking on behalf of the Pontiff.spacer8. The interpretation is not coherent. spacer9. The workers of the Society of Jesus sow peace, not discord.

AVING finished the third vision, the king, before passing on to the fourth vision, to be taken from ch. 17, snatches at certain things from chs. 14, 15, and 16; which, although they are rather slight, we have thought it worth the effort to take note of so that we leave untouched nothing that pertains to the cause. At the beginning, then, of ch.14, John narrates the special glory of the holy virgins there manifested to him; then he narrates the vision of the angel flying in the midst of heaven, and having the everlasting gospel, and announcing the Day of Judgment. And on these two points nothing occurs worth noting. Third, John says, v .8, “And there followed another angel saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of her wrath;” where the king notes that this ruin of Babylon, which this angel announced beforehand, is the death of Antichrist. Now by Babylon he wishes Rome to be understood, as we have above rather often said. Hence he signifies that Antichrist must die at Rome and in the burning and destruction of it. However, that Antichrist is to be killed at Rome is a new fiction thought up without foundation for generating some corrupt suspicion about the Roman See. For the ancients handed on that he is to be killed in the East, as is gathered from Lactantius VII.17 and following, and from Hippolytus, Irenaeus, and other ancients. But Jerome on Isaiah ch. 25 said that he is to be killed on Mount Olivet. It can also be gathered from Daniel ch. 11 at the end, and from Revelation ch.11, as I noted above. And in ch. 19 the Evangelist John said that Antichrist is to be cast alive into hell, namely at the command of Christ, as Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2 signified, and Daniel ch. 8 when he says, v. 25, “he shall be broken without hand.” If then by Babylon we understand Rome, so far is the ruin of Rome from being the death of Antichrist that rather by him, or his leaders or associates, it is to be destroyed and delivered over to fire, as can be gathered from Revelation ch. 18. For as I noted above, if Rome is to be destroyed before the time of judgment, it will only be at the time of Antichrist and by his effort, so that, with the Roman name extinct, he himself may seem to erect a new and more excellent monarchy. But if by Babylon we understand this world, the burning of Babylon supposes that the persecution of Antichrist, and his destruction and perdition, are already finished; therefore neither will the ruin of Babylon be in this way the death of Antichrist.
spacer 2. But after these voices and warnings of the two angels, a third angel follows, announcing both the punishments that will fall upon the followers of Antichrist and the blessedness of those who, patiently bearing tribulation and keeping the commandments of God, have died in the Lord. And since this discrimination is to be made in the judgment, therefore immediately the vision and representation of the judgment is subjoined. But these things, as all expositors note, were said in large part by anticipation; for before the judgment is made, seven plagues must precede, which are announced in general in ch. 15, and are reviewed one by one in ch. 16. Which to explain is not now our office. But because the king plays with their allegorical sense, I note briefly that the plagues are understood literally and properly of corporeal and external calamities, as were the plagues of Egypt, to which they are compared by Irenaeus, IV.50, Andreas, ch. 46 on Revelation, where he expounds them individually, and he is imitated more or less by Aretas. And rightly; for everything that is said there can be understood truly and properly, and therefore it should be so understood. Yet, nevertheless, the king, in his own manner, converts those plagues by his allegories into curses and abuse of the Holy Church and the Pontiff; he does not however accommodate them all, but those that he can pervert and accommodate, and he always assumes the same errors, understanding the Pontiff by the beast but the Apostolic Church by the false prophet; and in this way the darkness in the fifth vial poured out on the seat of Antichrist he says is the darkness of ignorance and error of the Roman Church. For thus are heretics wont, in excuse of their own ignorance and stubbornness, to accuse the Church of ignorance and blindness; for since they are themselves blind, they cannot see the light of the Church, as Augustine often notes against the Donatists.
spacer 3. Besides which, neither is the metaphor necessary, as I said, nor can it be accommodated; for those plagues are to come upon the beast and his kingdom, that is, on Antichrist and the men deceived by him, as is there said. Hence they will already presuppose a very thick spiritual darkness; the talk then is not about that. But the darkness to be poured out afterwards through the fifth vial will be truly corporeal and at any rate temporal, because sensible and very frequent darkness will either be poured out on Jerusalem, where Antichrist’s seat will be, and on all that region, or the human splendor and fame of the antichristian kingdom will be obscured by the greatness of the calamities, from which Antichrist will by his arts not be able to free his subjects. Hence it will happen that all will be afflicted with great pain, such that, vv. 10 - 11, “they gnawed their tongues for pain. And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.” Which words the king never could nor ever will be able, without blushing, to accommodate to the Church; but it can easily be understood how they might with better analogy and founded more in the truth be transferred to the darkness, and tongues, and blasphemies, and impenitence of Protestants.
spacer 4. The king progresses to the sixth angel who, by drying up the Euphrates, v. 12, prepared “the way of the kings of the East,” which he says has been fulfilled, “since already the man of sin has begun to be revealed, all the impediments having been taken away that can delay their journey,” that is of the Eastern kings, “to invade that monarchy.” Where by “the kings of the East” he understands himself and similar kings, rebels against the Roman Church and persecutors of it, as later in the fourth vision, on page 121, he more clearly expounds. And for these kings, he says, the way is to be prepared by the pouring out of the sixth vial, so that, with the impediments taken away, they may freely and unexpectedly invade the monarchy of the Church (which he himself makes up to be the monarchy of Antichrist). Just as Cyrus, he says, by an unexpected crossing of the Euphrates, took Babylon and its king Belshazzar, who was abusing the vessels prepared for the ministry of God, and in this way killed him as sitting in the temple of God.
spacer 5. In all which metaphor, omitting the impiety and audacity, I note the supreme ignorance of the Protestants who give this exposition; because not only are they speaking on behalf of their own opinion beyond the literal sense, but they are also accommodating the words against that sense. For the kings for whom, by the pouring out of the sixth vial and the drying up of the Euphrates, the way will be prepared, are not foretold to be coming against Antichrist, but rather to help Antichrist in the extermination of the people of God, as we will note below about the prophecy of Daniel in chapter 22, and it can also be taken from the words that John a little later subjoins, v. 14, “the spirits of demons…which go forth into the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” And thus all interpret that place about a calling together of all the kings of the earth, and especially of the Eastern kings, to be done by Antichrist for vanquishing all the Christians. Which calling together and huge gathering for battle is under the names of Gog and Magog made mention of by the same John in ch. 20, after Ezekiel ch. 28. How, then, can the metaphor square with understanding the kings to come from the East to be heretics rising up against the Pope? What more frivolous, and what more ridiculous, could be said or thought up?
spacer 6. Add that the kings will not gather together when Antichrist will begin to be revealed, but after Antichrist has been recognized by the whole world and has been publicly preached enough by his false prophet; nay, after his kingdom will have begun to be afflicted by other tribulations, as is manifest from the preceding vials and the following words; but these heretic fellows have risen and gathered together before Antichrist was known or begun to be revealed; for they themselves first made up that fable, and the throne on which they have themselves imposed that name was always very well known to the Church, and has suffered none of the things foretold in those vials. Next, the gathering together of those kings will be “to the battle of that great day of God Almighty,” when, that is, Christ will triumph over them and will destroy Gog and Magog together. But these heresiarch fellows are not gathered together for one day, and they went forth long before the times of the great day of the God. In this alone, then, do they conform to those kings, that they have in truth risen up against Christ, and are preparing the way for Antichrist, and are starting war against the Vicar of Christ (under the title of the fictitious Antichrist).
spacer 7. The king, however, concludes his prolix allegory by introducing the words written by John of the same sixth vial, v. 13, : “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.” Through which he understands a new sect rising up to illumine and support the throne of Antichrist that is obscured and tottering in darkness, which he says is signified by the number three because they are directed by three masters, “of the dragon,” that is Satan, “of Antichrist,” that is the Pontiff, and “of the false prophet,” that is the Roman Church. By which sect he understands without doubt the Society of Jesus, and he compares its doctors and preachers to frogs, whom he disparages at pleasure in the manner of heretics. Now to respond on their behalf is neither fitting for me nor necessary. For their works bear witness of themselves, and there is one who sees and judges. Nor do the alumni and workers of the Society have little whereof they can glory; since they have been held worthy by the Vicar of Christ and by his Church to suffer shame and insults for the faith of Christ and for obedience to his Vicar.
spacer 8. Only as to the abuse and corruption of the words of Scripture will I note that, besides the other errors about the false interpretation of the beast and of his false prophet and the abuse of the other words of that Scripture, there is in the allegory itself, when applied to the text, neither fixity nor order. For he says in this place that three evil spirits are sent to support Antichrist and to hold up his throne; hence when John says of them, v. 14, “which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle,” it plainly follows that the kings to be gathered by these spirits will be the friends and supporters of Antichrist; but a little earlier he had said that those kings, for whom the sixth angel prepares the way, are the enemies of Antichrist, and that a way has been expedited for them so that they might without impediment invade the monarchy of Antichrist; but these two things cannot stand together at the same time. For the kings who will come without impediment and are to be gathered by those three spirits are the same; how then are they called both to invade and to support the tottering throne of Antichrist?
spacer 9. In addition, those three spirits are said to be going to gather the kings to the battle, that is, against the visible Church of Christ, which battle will be at the time of Antichrist; but the workers of the Society do not gather kings to any battle, but to peace and union with the Vicar of Christ, nor to vanquishing the visible Church but to peace and union with it. Again, those kings are to be gathered specifically for the battle of one day, which by antonomasia is called “that great day of God Almighty,” because in it he will come “as a thief,” as is immediately said, v. 15, namely to destroy Antichrist and all the kings gathered with him, as in ch. 20 is plainly declared under the names of Gog and Magog. But this cannot in any way be accommodated to the preachers of the faith who now are in the Catholic Church, to pass over an infinite number of other things that show clearly that John is speaking of a corporeal and material battle, designating even the place where the kings are to be gathered, and declaring openly that the three frogs are three unclean spirits of demons performing signs wherewith to gather the kings to that battle. Therefore vain and impudent is the allegory made up by lazy and obstinate Protestants.



1. King James teaches that the harlot woman is Antichrist and accordingly the Pontiff. He proves this with calumnies.spacer 2. That woman signifies a city, not a man. Some understand it of the city of the impious, others of the Roman City. spacer3. Other calumnies are shown to be false. spacer4. Christian Rome is in no way drunken with the blood of the martyrs. spacer 5. The king confounds the notes of the woman and of the beast. spacer6. He asserts too that Christian Rome has committed fornication with kings. He is refuted by his own words. spacer7. If Rome is to be restored to its prior state near the end of the world, the words of Revelation do not square therewith. spacer8. Then it will rightfully be called Babylon. spacer9. The Roman Church can never be antichristian.spacer 10. That the Pontiffs give indulgence to lusts is sheer calumny. spacer11. The Church never approves invalid marriages. Legitimate dispensation does not make marriages illegitimate but honorable. spacer12. The king carps at the adorning of the Blessed Virgin and of temples. The adorning of temples is not new in the Church. spacer13. Images in the Church are decently clothed. There is greater religion in the adorning of the Blessed Virgin, especially at Rome. spacer14. The king tears with insults at the liberality of Catholics towards religious. spacer15. Concession of power for slaughtering kings with impunity is falsely attributed to the Pontiff. The Pontiffs have lavished indulgences on those who are fighting against pagans.spacer 16. Various concessions are reported from Anglican history. spacer17. The falsity of the things said is proved from the form of the concessions. spacer18. The question whether it is licit to kill a tyrant with impunity does not here have place. spacer19. After other insults, the king carps at the pride of the Roman Church. Old Rome believed herself a queen because of the empire. Not pride but faithful charity exalts the Church. spacer20. Notes of the true Church. spacer21. Prosperity bends both ways. Tribulations are more frequent in the Church. spacer22. God provides moderately, even with miracles, for the prosperity of his Church.spacer 23. King James weighs the Pontiff and the Turk in the same scales. However, there is no agreement between light and darkness. spacer24. The greatness of the Pontiff was from the time of Christ already established. It became, at the time of Constantine, known to the world. The Turks got the possession of things a long time later. Nothing of greatness was added to the pontificate when Mahomet was on the march.

HE Evangelist John reports in Revelation ch.17 that he was carried away into the wilderness, and that he saw a harlot woman sitting on a scarlet beast full of names of blasphemy &c. From this vision, which the King of England has put in fourth place, he strives to conclude that the Roman Pontiff is Antichrist; and he proves it in this manner. The harlot woman represents Antichrist, and all the properties which are in that chapter attributed to the woman conform to the Roman Pontiff; therefore he is Antichrist. The major premise the king does not prove but presupposes the foundation of his disputation as a thing known. The minor, however, he broadly pursues at will by multiplying insults, without proof or foundation of truth, against the Roman See; but only because since infancy he has, under the doctrine of heretics, imbibed that false opinion and depraved faith, and has been confirmed in it by custom; now, moved with both ignorance of mind and indignation, he dares to set his mouth against heaven and to defile sacred things with profane.
spacer 2. But, to begin with, the foundation on which he rests is false, for the woman does not represent Antichrist. Because John himself said that the woman has written on her forehead “Babylon the Great;” but no one has ever said that Babylon either properly or figuratively signifies Antichrist; for Antichrist will be a certain man, as was demonstrated above, but Babylon always signifies some city or congregation of men, as the same John at the end of that ch. 17 concluded, v. 18, “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” And thus do all the Fathers and expositors of that place agree that the woman or Babylon represents some great city, because this is not only in an enigma but expressly revealed, and is made clear by the same prophet. But which that city is, is variously expounded. However we reported above in chapter 7 that there are two probable opinions, one explaining this place of the city of the impious, the other expounding it of the Roman City, and we made both opinions clear and showed that each was probable; and we made clear in detail that all the insignia of depravity, with which John adorns her, are appropriate to both. But we noted there that, according to the Catholic and true clarification, if Rome is Babylon it must be understood to be, not Christian, but pagan Rome, as it was at the time that John was writing, and for as long as it endured in that state; and if perchance it will return, whether altogether or in large part, to that state before the end of the world (as many think), it is for that state too deservedly signified by the same name; for Christian Rome, while it continues under the true faith of Christ, cannot be said to be Babylon, since it does not give admittance to the confession of false dogmas, or of several sects or gods. And therefore rightly did Jerome, Book II of Contra Jovin. near the end, say to Rome: “You have destroyed by the confession of Christ the blasphemy written on your forehead &c.” And for this reason did Peter accurately distinguish the Church that was at Babylon from Babylon itself, saying, 1 Peter 5:13, “The Church that is at Babylon…saluteth you.” And in the same way does Jerome speak in epist.18 to Marcel. saying, “There indeed is the holy Church &c.”
spacer 3. With the foundation of the king destroyed, then, his argument collapses. Wherefore all the accommodations that he assumes under that foundation are the calumnies of Protestants, not interpretations of Scripture. Nor can the king himself escape this response, since he rather often contends in his Preface that the harlot is Rome, and he confirms it with the confession of those of our own. But here we must beware of the cunning of Protestants, which Sander noted in Book VIII, De Visib. Monarch., and the king seems to be imitating it in the present case, for he says that the same woman is Rome, and is Antichrist, and again that the beast is Antichrist, as I noted above in chapter 15, so that, by thus confounding Rome with the Roman throne and with Antichrist, he afterwards transfers the discussion to every governance of that city and, finally, to the Roman Church and See, and accommodates everything to it that is said about Antichrist as well as about the infidel City of Rome and its pagan empire. Such things, then, are all that in his whole discourse he fabricates about that chapter. For since Rome is said to have been “the mother of harlots” when “she was in service to the superstitions and idols of all the nations,” as Pope Leo says in serm.1 de Nativit. and in serm.1 de Sanctis Petro et Paulo, for that reason the king transfers that crime to the Apostolic See. And just as we, on account of that See, say that Rome is the mother and teacher of all churches, so he calls it the mother of all spiritual fornications. But what those spiritual fornications are that the Roman See has either exercised or taught, never has he hitherto been able to show; since it has never, not even in the slightest, differed from the ancient and primitive faith, as was proved in Books I and II.
spacer 4. And in like manner, when pagan Rome is said to be “drunken with the blood of the martyrs” because of the persecutions of the emperors, the same king dares to attribute it to the Roman Church and See; but what assuredly I do not see is with what appearance or shadow of truth it could be said. For what “monstrous persecutions of Christians” has the Roman Church stirred up, or when did it spill the blood of martyrs, so that, for this reason, it may be said to be drunken with the blood of the martyrs? But perhaps the king is calling martyrdoms the just punishments of certain heretics and apostates, although however those punishments are so rare that neither because of them could the Roman Church be said to be drunken with the blood of heretics; for, as the Fathers and expositors note, an unnumbered multitude of martyrs is denoted by these words. Next, to pass over the rest, the things said about Rome in Revelation can be attributed with no greater foundation to the Roman See from the time of Boniface III than, for example, from the time of Sylvester, as has often been said and proved. Let the king, then, cease to keep turning his back, and let him either admit that Rome, by reason of that See, was always a harlot, or let him desist from transferring the crimes of pagan Rome to Boniface or other later holy Pontiffs and their legitimate successors.
spacer 5. Next, because the king confounds the woman with the beast that is carrying her, he tries to interpret about the Pope not only the properties of the woman but also the insignia of the beast. And first, he refers the interpretation of the seven heads to the seven regimes of the city, which we attacked above; next he has a remarkable exposition of the ten horns, which we will treat of better in the next chapter. And finally, he digresses to explaining the predicted destruction of Babylon in ch. 18. But because we have above in chapter 7 treated of the destruction of Babylon described in that ch. 18, it will not be necessary to run through all the allegories and accommodations that the king fabricates in this latter place, especially because they contain nothing new but the same curses and insults, founded on the same errors, against the Roman See, and amplified, without any proof, by new exaggerations. With these things more or less passed over, then, I have thought only that certain points, which either have some shadow of an objection or contain a more pernicious and scandalous calumny, should not be passed over.
spacer 6. First, then, on p.122, so that he may bite at the same time as objecting, he considers the words of ch.18 where, after the ruin of Rome has been described, it is said, v. 9, “The kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her and lament for her.” From which he intends to conclude that Babylon is not pagan Rome but Christian Rome, because what is there related, “was with pagan Rome never done, nor could be done, by any of the kings whom she by force and arms subjected.” Therefore that Babylon is Christian Rome; and the kings who were lamenting her ruin are those, he says, “whom she adorned with honorific names and titles, and indulged with pardon for their lusts and illicit marriages.” But to the objection we reply, to begin with, that the same can be turned back against the king; for the thing was never done, nor could be done, even with Christian Rome, because those kings, whom she adorned with honorific titles, she subjected, not indeed by force and arms, yet with Christian faith and peace, as Pope Leo said in serm.1 De Sanctis Petro et Paulo. Next I say that about both Romes, or about both states of the same Rome, the objection is impertinent, because the prophecy has not yet been fulfilled, for Rome has not yet been made altogether extinct. For although she suffered some grave calamities and not small disasters under the Goths and Vandals, yet by them was the prophecy of John in the said ch.18 not fulfilled, because by those destructions was it not brought about that, v. 21, “she should be found no more at all,” as I noted in the said chapter 7. Although about those destructions too it might very truly be said that they came upon pagan Rome rather than Christian Rome. For she was then as it were a mixture, for although in her was the Apostolic See and the Christian religion, yet there was still in her much remaining of Gentilism, and a great part continued of pagan citizens, and God, to purge her of those dregs, permitted the calamities, as is learnedly and eruditely shown by Malvenda, De Antichristo IV.6; and therefore although, by the capture and destruction of Rome, the faithful Church that was then in her could not fail to suffer great harms and losses, yet because the idolatries and crimes of Gentilism were causes of the ruin, therefore can it be said that they came rather upon pagan Rome than Christian.
spacer 7. Hence I add further, what I reported in the said chapter 7 from the opinion of many wise men, that it is not incredible that near the times of Antichrist Rome must actually during them be again conquered by the nations and recalled to its former pagan status, the Church having been therefrom ejected or so afflicted that it should hide as it were in a corner or in caves, and then could the prophecy of John be very well fulfilled in pagan Rome, and the pagan and idolatrous kings who had partaken in her fornications and delights could lament for her. And thus rightly too could she be called Babylon, just as she was called before, even if the Church would exist, which the name of Babylonian can never fit. Hence wisely did Sander say, Monarch. VIII.8, that Antichrist must be waited for, not in Rome, but among the remains and fragments of the Roman Empire. Especially because, although perhaps some infidel king might first rise up who would conquer Rome and exercise there his tyranny, that thing is not to be imputed to the Apostolic See or to the Roman Church more than the persecution of Nero or of Diocletian was ascribed formerly to the same Church.
spacer 8. Finally I say that it could also happen that Rome should suffer that last and eternal destruction even if it never returns to paganism, but remains under the command of the Pontiff, and that it should suffer it because of its crimes, not only past, but also those that there will be in those last days. For, as I was saying above, although the Church continue faithful therein, either it could be very depraved in its morals, or there could be multiplied in it sects, whether of heretics or of pagans, with so much power and liberty that the Pontiffs should not be able to repress them. And in such a state it could also be called Babylon because of the confusion that, in that state, could not fail to be very great. And in like manner could the kings lament over it who were partners in its delights, whether they will be pagans, or the faithful given over to corrupt morals, or heretics supporting the sects and crimes which could then exist through all Italy or all Europe, and could so prevail that they should, along with the authority and power of external kings, invade even Rome.
spacer 9. In whatever way, then, that prophecy be understood, therefrom can it not only not be gathered that Rome is already now antichristian, but also neither can it with any likelihood be inferred that the Church, which is now at Rome, either is already, or will at some time be, antichristian and infidel, because although many citizens and members of it should defect from the faith, they come to be by that very fact outside the Church, which always remains faithful. And much less does it follow that the head of the true Church is or will ever be Antichrist, because although the city is thoroughly destroyed because of apostasy, or for any other cause whatever, the head and rock of the Church could stand firm, or reside elsewhere, or go into hiding. Nay, although God should permit the person of some Pontiff in those times to fall and to yield to the tyrants by professing errors, not for that reason would the Pontiff, as he is Pontiff, fall, nor would the Church fall, but, after deposing him, the Church could for itself create a Pontiff. Which is said for exaggeration and for more explaining the thing; for it is more credible that God will not permit it, especially during so great a tribulation and oppression of the Church.
spacer 10. Now as to the calumny that the king mixes in by the by with his objection, saying that Pontiffs are wont to give pardon to the lusts of kings or to permit illicit marriages, we reply that it is false and cannot be proved by the king, but that by us, or by the miserable lapse of England itself, it is evidently refuted. For to give pardon to lusts can happen in two ways. First by giving pardon to the lustful after penance and satisfaction for their lusts; and this has very often been done by Pontiffs. From which fact are they understood to be, not Antichrists, but Vicars of Christ, who committed to them the keys of heaven, and who to Peter when he asked, Matthew 18:21: “How oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?” replied, v .22, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times, but, Until seventy times seven;” that is, if he will have listened to the Church and done penance, otherwise he is rather to be separated as a heathen and a publican. In another way can it be attributed to the Pontiffs that they provide pardon for lusts for those who persist in them, or approve similar deeds, or publicly and with scandal to the Church conceal them. And that such a crime is in this sense falsely attributed to the Apostolic See England herself is witness; for on account of no other cause did Henry VIII, and his kingdom with him, begin schism against the Roman Bishop save because he refused to give pardon to his intolerable lust. blue Similar examples to prove the same falsehood could also be sought from the histories of Portugal and from other histories. But in a clear matter they are not necessary, nor does it become us to recall to memory the already forgotten and wiped out offenses of kings.
spacer 11. But in the other phrase that the king adjoins, “to permit illicit marriages,” he seems clearly to allude to the marriage of Henry with the most Serene Catherine, which the Pope permitted, nay not only permitted but also constantly defended, because it was not illicit but true and holy. But the King of England will approve the marriage of Henry with Anne Boleyn, which was not an illicit marriage but a most ugly adultery and an execrable incest. Permission, then, for illicit marriage can also be done in various ways. First by approving matrimonies illicitly made, even if they are invalid; and this is falsely attributed to the Catholic Church or to the Apostolic See, nor can an example be by the king produced whereby he could in any way make it credible. Nay, although a marriage was valid, if it was done illicitly (as often happens), although the Church approves the marriage, it does not approve the offence; nay, nor permits it, but forbids and punishes it if possible; for sometimes, because it cannot punish it without greater scandal, it hides it; but this is frequently wont to be the fault of powerful princes, not of the Apostolic See. Marriage is permitted in another way so that it be done with a dispensation, because it would without it be illicit, and this the Church often does, and most justly does, because when it happens because of impediments introduced by human right, these can also by the power of the Church be taken away; and it is often expedient for the common good, or for some other just cause. Thus too was it done in the case of the marriage of Henry with Catherine, as is very well known and demonstrated by many most learned men. But on account of these dispensations, not without trickery or fraud is it said that “the Pontiff permits illicit marriages,” for these words have, so to say, a composite sense; for they signify that he permits those that remain illicit, which is false; but he permits by dispensing, so that what without dispensation would be illicit is done licitly.
spacer 12. The king goes further, and on occasion of the words of John in the said ch.18 verse 11, “for no man buyeth their merchandise any more,” he exaggerates the wealth of the Roman City, and condemns (to omit other things) “the adornment of temples, and the cult of holy images.” He adds too a horrible lie of Protestants, which they have imposed on him, namely that “they clothe and adorn daily in Rome the Blessed Virgin with novel and very exquisite kinds of dress, although these recall the habit of harlots.” However in this objection the Protestants sufficiently show that they are calumniating and pursuing with hatred, not the Rome that they imagine is novel and antichristian, but the old and Catholic Roman Church. For the adornment of temples is not new in the Church but, from the time when temples began to be publicly built, they also began to be sumptuously adorned, and most of all at Rome. Of which thing, besides the most grave histories of Eusebius and later writers, there are very evident witnesses, the most ancient monuments, and the ornaments of temples and reliquaries, which today are observed in Rome, and are in the acts of the Pontiffs themselves, Sylvester, Damasus, and others up to Gregory, most copiously found. And, in addition to the examples, the holy and Ancient Pontiffs taught it, Felix IV and Leo I, as we have dealt with more extensively elsewhere. blue The same is manifest about the cult of images, of which enough was said in Book II.
spacer 13. But the calumny about the indecent clothing or cult of the image of the most Blessed Virgin, it is sufficiently refuted by the decree of the ecumenical Synod of Trent, confirmed by the Roman Pontiffs, and received in use. For in sess. 25, in the decree about the cult of saints and images, after it has made clear the Catholic doctrine, it subjoins about the morality to be kept in practice: “Further, let all superstition in the invocation of saints, in the veneration of relics, and in the sacred use of images, be removed, all base gain eliminated, finally all lasciviousness avoided, so that images may not be painted or adorned with frivolous charm.” And again it commends to the bishops, “Let them exercise care that nothing disordered, or fitted in topsy-turvy or haphazard fashion, nothing profane, nothing dishonorable appear, since sanctity becomes the house of God.” And this care and religious solicitude we know is observed in Roman temples with great diligence and piety, and we observed it for many years with our eyes, and we noticed it with more consideration in the images of the most holy Virgin; and therefore we confidently affirm that in those words is contained nothing but sheer calumny and the impudent mendacity of heretics.
spacer 14. Nor is the accusation dissimilar that in third place the king objects to the Pontiffs on the occasion of those words of John, vv. 12 - 1, “The merchandise of gold &c., and souls of men.” For he says: “Now, of all the sumptuous merchandise, those which are of great price, namely the souls of men, are named last,” and at once he interposes the words wherewith he inveighs against the religious and pious expenses that Catholics take on in building convents for religious, and especially against the Society of Jesus which he loads down with injuries and insults. Which things I gladly omit, both so that the pious ears of those reading this work may not be offended, and also because I have in this work determined to reply, not on behalf of the Society, but on behalf of the Catholic faith and the singular prerogative of the Apostolic See. And although in those words some errors against the faith are involved, as against purgatory, against intercessions for the dead, and against the religious state, they are only touched on by the by and cannot in this brief work all be refuted. And also about the former we have, as this work gave opportunity, said enough in Books I and II, but about the last we hope at some point, with divine help, to bring to light a work about the religious state, a close ally to our other work about the virtue of religion, wherein we expressly refute that error. After the words, then, that we have passed over, the king subjoins: “And certainly I believe that the business with souls is not the least, since men are bewitched by the hope and promise of eternal life, so that a little brother might easily be persuaded to stab his king &c.” And finally he concludes: “and thus to throw away both spirit and soul.”
spacer 15. In these words the king signifies either that Pontiffs are wont to promise indulgences or remission of sins to men if they kill their kings and temporal princes, or that Catholics teach that it is a work of piety to devise and inflict death on a prince and king who is an enemy to faith and religion, and that it is most meritorious and a kind of martyrdom to suffer death for perpetrating such a crime; and that in this way the brother who killed the king of Gaul and others like him were deceived by the promise of eternal salvation. And the first sense, indeed, seems to have been intended by the king, for it sufficiently follows upon what went before. But to it Bellarmine briefly and learnedly responds that Pontiffs are indeed wont to give indulgences to Christian soldiers fighting in just wars against infidels, or to concede them to those departing life. For Gelasius II almost five hundred years ago conceded to soldiers capturing Spain against the Saracens an indulgence in these words: “If any of you, having received penance for his sins, shall have died in this expedition, we absolve him, by the merits of the saints and the prayers of the whole Church, from the bonds of his sins.” And afterwards he conceded another indulgence for other living cooperators, as is in Baronius for the year 1118 n. 18. Another indulgence was conceded by John VI at the time of the emperor Louis III to all those dying in the war for the defense of the Church against the pagans, as Baronius reports for the year 878 n. 34, from epist.144 of the same. Again, there is a celebrated indulgence which to those taking up the cross for the expedition to the Holy Land was conceded by Pope Urban in the Council of Claremont in the year 1095, as Baronius reports for the same year nn. 25 and 50. The same indulgence was confirmed by Eugene III for the year 1145, as is reported by Otho of Frisingen, De Gestis Francorum I.34, and extensively by Baronius for the same year, nn. 30 and following.
spacer 16. Finally, a like indulgence was conceded by Gregory VIII in a certain epistle to all the Christian faithful, which is reported by Roger of England in his Annales and by William of Newburgh, Histor. Anglican. III.20. The words of the concession are: “To those who with contrite heart and humble spirit have assumed the labor of this journey, and in penance for their sins and in right faith have died, we promise a full indulgence for their crimes and eternal life. But, whether they will survive or whether they will die, let them know that, for all their sins for which they have made a right confession, they will have, by the mercy of Almighty God and by the authority of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul and of us, a relaxing of the satisfaction imposed.” And the same indulgence was confirmed by his successor Clement III, as Roger and Baronius report in their Annales. And William of Newburgh, ch. 22, adds that Count Richard of Poitiers, son of the king of the English, was first of all the princes to take the cross of the Lord, and that afterwards the king his father together with the king of Gaul agreed on the same purpose, and promulgated throughout their kingdoms with their own letters the indulgence conceded by the Pope, and that it was afterwards approved and received in the English Council of many bishops.
spacer 17. If therefore now King James dares to condemn all indulgences of this sort, he is sufficiently confounded by the agreement of so many Pontiffs, Councils, kings, and of the whole Church, and by ancient tradition, besides the other things that on this point have been by us disputed. blue But if he makes accusation of the Pontiffs that they give the like remissions to those who dare by private authority to kill their kings, or that they stir them up to perpetrating the like crimes by the promise of indulgences, this is an accusation that is new and in the Roman Church unheard of but thought up by Protestants to bring hatred on the Pontiff. For the Roman Pontiffs, so far from promising indulgence for perpetrating crimes, have been accustomed rather, in the form of conceding an indulgence, to add the phrase “truly penitent and confessed,” or to append some equivalent one.
spacer 18. But in the other sense the king, in his condemnation, presses the celebrated question whether it is licit for any private man to kill his legitimate king who is ruling tyrannically and, in particular, is perverting religion and the Catholic faith. Which now to dispute would be prolix and foreign to our purpose. Therefore, along with Cardinal Bellarmine, we only respond, to begin with, that from the deeds of certain private persons, even if they were Catholic, is not rightly gathered that such deeds are approved by the Church; for to gather doctrine from deeds, especially of a few people, is either an enormous fog of ignorance or a manifest calumny; since Christ himself said also of the Scribes and Pharisees, Matthew 23:3, “All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works.” Next we say that, not Catholics, but heretics, parents of Lutherans and Protestants, have taught that a king, not only because of heresy or tyranny, but also because of any mortal sin whatever, loses his kingship, and can be chastised at will by fellow citizens. Which doctrine was followed by John Hus; but the Catholic Church condemns it as heretical, as is clear from the Council of Constance sess. 8 &and 15, and has been elsewhere shown by us. Nay, in the same Council sess.15 a certain assertion submitted to it is reported, “Any tyrant whatever can and should licitly and meritoriously be killed by any vassal or subject whatever, even by means of secret ambushes, notwithstanding any oath made, and not waiting for any opinion or command &c.” But this assertion is declared to be heretical, and he who stubbornly defends it is denounced by the Council as a heretic. Wrongly, then, does King James accuse the Roman Church or its Catholic doctors of bewitching or persuading by that doctrine a little brother or anyone else to kill his king with hope of eternal salvation. And these things are on this point for the present sufficient, for it will again come up in Book VI.
spacer 19. In the fourth place, after other insults against the Catholic Church, the king adds that the Roman Church must be very harshly punished because of its pride; which pride he says is explained in these words, v. 7: “She saith in her heart: I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” And later he exaggerates this pride when he says, “For there is with them no more certain note of the true Church than success and external prosperity.” But, to begin with, as to what concerns the words of Scripture, it is certain that they are said of the city of the impious, or of pagan and proud Rome, which gloried that she sat as a queen, that is, because she ruled over many kingdoms and provinces, and was not a widow because she was married to the emperor and supreme lord of the nations; just as, on the contrary, Jeremiah weeps for Jerusalem because, Lamentations 1:1, “how is she become a widow…she that was princess among the nations.” When therefore is added, “and shall see no sorrow,” the error of the nations is indicated who thought Rome and her empire would be perpetual, on the evidence of Jerome in the said q. 11 to Algas., where, among other things, he says that the name of blasphemy written on the forehead of the harlot in Revelation is “Rome Everlasting.” And in more or less this way is it expounded by the Fathers and doctors, and therefore the sport of the Protestants is ridiculous and impious. Above all since in the true Church of Christ it is not pride but faithful charity that professes she is the bride of Christ, since Paul says, Ephesians 5:25. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church.” And after explaining the similitude in these words, v. 31, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife,” he adds, v .32, “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.” Hence since Christ is King of kings, what marvel that his bride should sit, Psalm 45:9,1 4, “the queen in gold of ophir…in raiment of needlework.” For not in herself but in the Lord, by reason of marriage, does she glory in so great dignity. And for the same reason, not from pride or vain presumption, does she not fear to see widowhood or grief, because she has heard from the bridegroom: “And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” and “Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Wherefore, if it be licit to use by accommodation the words of Scripture, much more justly might England fear that threat and those punishments, because she really says: “I sit a queen,” because I acknowledge no other spouse besides the temporal king, nor any other superior in spiritual or temporal things; “I am no widow,” because I have the supreme head and Vicar of Christ as my own and as spouse; “and shall see no sorrow,” because the spirit dictates that this is the true Church of Christ that will remain for ever with Christ, and will little by little overcome the Roman Church.
spacer 20. Lastly, what the king adds of himself, that there is with us no more certain note of the true Church than “success and external prosperity,” it contains two falsehoods. The first and clearest is seen in the comparison, for all Catholics with one consent hand on as the more principal and most certain notes of the Church, that it is “one, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic,” along with others that are in these, when rightly explained, tightly contained, as are to have legitimate succession from the primitive Church through a certain and indubitable connection with it in doctrine, in governance, and pastoral office, and especially in the chair of Peter. Again that it is founded on that rock through perpetual union and obedience with it. But other notes, that are multiplied by some Catholic doctors, are either reduced to these, or are not so much notes proper and certain, as very likely signs of the true Church.
spacer 21. The other false assertion is that “external prosperity” and “success” are absolutely and without any clarification or restriction numbered among the notes of the Church. For pious and wise men are not ignorant that temporal felicity is a thing indifferent; and that good success in these things is common to the bad and the good, to the faithful and infidel, to Catholics and heretics. Nor even are they ignorant that nothing is more proper to the Church of Christ than temporal afflictions and tribulations and persecutions; while, on the contrary, external peace and abundance of temporal things are wont to be granted more abundantly to the bad than to the good; either because they receive, for any good they do, those temporal goods in place of reward, or because they deserve, on account of their sins, that there be granted to them goods that God foresees will make them daily worse; or certainly, so that the good be made better, both by lacking those temporal goods that are wont to bring occasion of spiritual ruin, and by sustaining the annoyances of the impious who, elated by prosperity, afflict them.
spacer 22. Temporal prosperity, then, considered in itself, is not by us set down as a note of the true Church, because it is not a note of the true faith, nor of true sanctity. But because the Church of Christ, while it lives on earth, has need also of these temporal goods (as St. Augustine rightly said), therefore does Christ the Lord provide for it with special care, by his singular providence in lavishing, conserving, and defending these goods. And often by help extraordinary and plainly celestial he assists it in obtaining good success and in avoiding the opposite. And thus temporal prosperity, coming in this way to the Church or to princes, is reckoned by Catholics among the signs of the true faith and hence of the Catholic Church. And thus did Cardinal Bellarmine, De Eccles. Book IV, last chapter, put indeed temporal felicity in fifteenth and last place as inferior to the rest, but not without prudent and sufficient clarification, for he adds, “Temporal felicity divinely conferred on those who have defended the Church.” And such are the examples he adduces, and in the same way do many other authors speak whom he himself refers to, and Bozius does so copiously in De Signis Ecclesiae especially II.20 and following.
spacer 23. In the remaining part of that discourse, which the king adjoins on chapters 19, 20, and 21, I find nothing worthy of note or pertinent to the cause besides what he says by the by in passing, whether that which is said in Revelation ch.20 about Gog and Magog “is to be taken of the Pope and the Turk or not, I leave to the judgment of others;” and he gives as his reason, “Because they grew up to their greatness at more or less the same time.” In which words he errs and sins in many ways. First against piety and also human courtesy when he numbers the Pope among the enemies of Christ and among the persecutors of the Church, and equates him with the Turk; wherein he not only shows how much he is degenerating from all pious and Catholic princes who have attended the Pope with supreme reverence and honor, as was sufficiently shown above, but he also clearly shows himself to be blabbing out similar words, not by weight of reason, but only by passion and hatred. For there is no agreement or comparison between Christ’s Vicar, the parent of the faithful and master and defender of his faith, with an infidel tyrant, the most bitter persecutor of Christians. But those who are wise in their own eyes and are led by their own spirit easily say that darkness is light, and light darkness.
spacer 24. Next, he errs against the truth of history when he says that the Pope and the Turk grew up at the same time to their greatness. For if we speak of the magnitude of the Pope as to spiritual dignity and power, he never increased in it; for from the beginning it was whole and (so to say) in the highest grade in Peter, and the same has been derived without increase or diminution to the successors of Peter, looking, that is, at the very power in itself; for the use of it could have grown, just as the Church grew and impediments were taken away and greater occasions came along. And in this sense too can the Pope be said to have come to his greatness from the times of Constantine, for then his dignity began to be known to the whole world, and the emperor himself and other temporal princes began to subject their necks to him. Nay, also as to temporal domination he then more or less came to his greatness. But the empire of the Turk began after much time, for although the nation of the Turks, who were formerly called Gazari, is ancient, yet their sect and empire are much more recent; for also the impious Mahomet began after the six hundredth year of Christ, and the Turks did not begin to invade the Eastern Roman Empire until the times of Constantine called Copronymus and Iconoclast, and until the year one thousand, and they did not obtain even a hundredth part. Hence if the Turk be said then to have grown up to his greatness, as ought in truth to be said, it is altogether false that the Pope and the Turk reached their greatness at the same time. Now King James seems to have looked back to the beginning of Mahomet, because he appeared in the world a little after Boniface; however in this way too it is false either that at that time any greatness was added to the Pontificate, or that the nation of the Turks or their empire then began. Next, that accommodation about Gog and Magog has no likelihood, not only in the Pontiff, which is very evident, but even in the Turk as well; and therefore it should neither be called into doubt nor remitted to the judgment of others, as was touched on above, and as we will see in the following chapter.



1. The prophecies of Daniel are very little brought forward by King James. spacer2. In Daniel empires are shadowed forth by animals. Description of Antichrist. spacer3. By the ten horns of the fourth beast an equal number of kings in the Roman Empire are represented. spacer4. Whether this number is definite, or put for an indefinite one. spacer5. The Fathers think the number is definite. spacer6. The King of England explains the number. Ten and seven often indicate an indefinite number. spacer7. It is more certain that ten is put for a definite number.spacer 8. The foundations of the King of England are overturned. spacer9. The number seven is here more distinctly handled. Antichrist is an instrument of the Devil. spacer10. Two places in Revelation about the number seven are expounded. spacer11. The ten horns of the beast the King of England interprets of all the Christian kings from Boniface III. spacer12 - 13. About the little horn King James is altogether silent. What others have thought about it. spacer14. The opinions of the King of England are overturned by the words of the prophecy themselves. spacer15. The little horn will rise up after the Roman Empire has been divided. spacer16. Boniface III did not, as Daniel prophesied, erect a new empire. spacer17. King James inflicts a signal injury, not only on foreign kings, but also on English ones. spacer18. False interpretation given by the king to the words of Revelation. In the text of John, to be conquered is not to be converted but to be overthrown. spacer19. The ten kings are never going to wage war against Antichrist. spacer20. “To put in their hearts“ means to allow. spacer21. Description of Antichrist. spacer 22. He will obtain the kingdom by cunning, not by heredity. He will get hold of power tyrannically. spacer23. He will misuse the sharpness of his mind for pride and ill speaking. spacer24. He will trample on religion, and will try to turn things sacred upside down. He will arrive near the Day of Judgment, not before. spacer25. The same notes of Antichrist are inculcated in other places by Daniel. spacer26. Antichrist will place himself in the temple as God. spacer27. Also belonging to him are the things foretold by Daniel of Seleucus and Epiphanes. spacer28. The individual words about them and about Antichrist are considered. spacer29. Contempt of God in Antichrist. Antichrist will not worship the gods of the nations, but he will perhaps in secret worship the demon. spacer30. Other prophecies of Daniel in chs.11 and 12 about Antichrist. spacer31. From what has been said, it is clear that antichristianism in the Pontiffs is sheer imposture.

LTHOUGH I read attentively the discourse of the King of England about Antichrist, and saw therein no mention about the prophet Daniel, save by a cursory and incidental assertion that John in Revelation imitated the modes of speaking of Daniel, Ezekiel, and the prophets, I greatly marveled and began to doubt whether the king believes that Daniel prophesied about Antichrist. The suspicion was increased by the fact he says, at the beginning of his disputation, that Paul very clearly explained what John in his visions obscurely handed on, and he passes over Daniel as if he did not pertain in any way to the cause, or as if he had foretold Antichrist neither obscurely nor clearly. But if it is thus perhaps true, and the king does not believe that Daniel prophesied about Antichrist, he must be asked why he believes it of John and denies it of Daniel? Because both spoke in enigmas and neither expressly laid down the name of Antichrist; and the visions of Daniel, by the judgment of all the Fathers and expositors, point to Antichrist less obscurely than those of John. Nay, Christ the Lord in Matthew 4 sufficiently indicates that Daniel spoke about Antichrist, and the same is the perpetual tradition of the Church. But if the king dare not deny this, I am amazed at why, in so prolix a disputation and so monstrous an accusation against the Pontiff, he has omitted the very grave testimony of so great a prophet! I suspect, therefore, that he passed over Daniel in silence because his descriptions about Antichrist not only could not, with any color, be twisted to confirm his own error but do rather refute them, and point not obscurely to the truth. For this cause, then, although we have used the testimonies of this prophet above to show that Antichrist will be an individual person and for how long a time he will reign, we have thought it worthwhile to gather from him a description of Antichrist, for he hands it on more copiously than others do, and through it is Antichrist more evidently distinguished, not only from the Pope, but also from all the others who have been falsely thought to be Antichrists.
spacer 2. First, then, in ch.7, Daniel says that he saw four beasts, which signified four kingdoms of the world, as he himself declares, but that the four kingdoms, by the common consent and exposition of Catholics, were the empires of the Chaldeans, of the Persians, of the Greeks, and of the Romans, was briefly declared above in chapter 3. Now, setting aside the three first beasts or kingdoms, which quickly passed away, Daniel says about the fourth beast that, among other things, it had ten horns, and he subjoins, v. 8, “I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots; and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” By these, then, and the following words, that we will add later, we understand that Daniel described the person of Antichrist. Which, although it was above by the by and on occasion rather often pointed out, must here be expressly and wholly expounded, since, if all the properties that the prophet attributes to the little horn are collected together, the lie and imposture of the falsehood of Protestants about Roman antichristianism will be evidently refuted. However, we must suppose that the little horn represents Antichrist. Now it is first necessary to interpret the ten horns, but about the fourth beast nothing needs to be added to what Daniel himself has said, namely, that the fourth beast is, v. 23, “the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.” By which all Catholics understand the Roman Empire, setting aside the interpretations of Porphyry and the Hebrews, on whom can be seen St. Jerome and other expositors; for of this there is in the present work no controversy.
spacer 3. Again, about the ten horns Daniel declares that they represent ten future kings, and he indicates sufficiently that they will not be altogether distinct from that greatest kingdom signified by the fourth beast, nor in their lands and provinces outside the total sway of the Roman Empire, but they will be ten kings of the very same fourth kingdom; for thus he speaks, v. 24, “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings.” Hence all gather that the very same Roman kingdom, which before was one empire, is to be divided into ten kingdoms. Which was also signified in ch. 2 of the same prophet by the ten toes where the statue ended.
spacer 4. Now about this number of ten horns there is doubt whether, just as Daniel saw precisely ten horns, and neither more nor fewer, there are by them in the same way signified ten kings in the same definite and precise number, or indefinitely a multitude of kings among whom the Roman Empire was to be divided. Which question is touched on by Augustine, De Civitate Dei XX.23, and he thinks it uncertain whether the number ten signifies a whole multitude of future kings in the Roman Empire before Antichrist comes, or rather points to precisely ten kings. Prosper too in Dimidio Temporis ch. 8, although he does not move a question about the number, nevertheless doubts whether by those ten kings be understood “kings more ferocious who existed in the Christian religion.” Aretas also, ch.36 on Revelation, says generally that the ten horns signify that “the consummation of things that contribute to malice turns out to be antichristian,” where he indicates an indefinite number, although he reports another opinion when he says, “But about these too some have said that then the world is going to be divided into ten kingdoms.” And to this opinion Pereira seems to incline in his Book II on Daniel, where by the ten toes of the statue he says is signified that “the Roman Empire is going at the end to be divided into many kingdoms and many kings, among whom some will be stronger, some weaker, and therefore the toes were partly of iron, partly of clay.” And in the same place he says that by the ten horns in ch. 7 are signified “many kings.” And the same in Book VIII, treating of the opinion of Augustine, speaks under disjunction saying that it cannot be denied but that when Antichrist comes there will be in the Roman world “ten kings or many kings.”
spacer 5. However the Fathers jointly, not raising any doubt or question, say simply that the ten horns signify ten kings, as far as Daniel interprets them, and that they will be in the Roman world at the time of the advent of Antichrist. Thus does Irenaeus speak, V..25, and in ch. 26 he more fully expounds in the same sense the ten toes of the statue in Daniel 2 and the ten horns of the beast in Revelation chs.13 and 17; and although he does not expressly make it clear, yet he always speaks of a definite and precise number. Hippolytus too, in orat. De Consummat. Mundi says only that the ten horns seen by Daniel are ten kings, and that the same are signified in the ten toes of the statue; and in the same way does Cyril of Jerusalem speak, Catechesis ch.15, Lactantius VII.16, Tertullian De Resurrect. Carnis chs.24 and 25, and of the same opinion are Jerome and Theodoret on Daniel 7 and 2, when they understand that by the ten horns of the beast, wherever in Daniel and Revelation there is mention of them, signify ten kingdoms into which the Roman Empire will be divided. Andreas too agrees, chs. 36 and 53 on Revelation, who says, among other things, that “by the ten horns is signified the division of the earthly kingdom into ten parts.” Which is also touched on by Aretas, ch. 54, who, when making reference only by the name of “others,” thus says: “they say.” And this opinion is commonly followed by modern expositors and doctors; and one of them, sufficiently learned, blue affirms it with so much emphasis that he says it is so manifest those ten kings must be understood to be neither more nor fewer that he is greatly amazed St. Augustine could have been in doubt on the point. Nay he says, “When one has considered so great consent of the Fathers, he who would dare to stand opposed or gape will be putting on far too bold a face.”
spacer 6. And nevertheless the King of England in his Preface p.120, treating of the place in Revelation 17, says the number ten is there taken for an indefinite number; and he uses the argument that John is there alluding to this place of Daniel, as if supposing it rather certain that Daniel took the ten for an indefinite number. He adds another argument too, how the number of seven heads and ten horns of the dragon or the devil cannot otherwise be understood except as declaring an indefinite number. But I, to begin with, do not judge that this controversy pertains to the dogmas of the faith, but is a thing that lies in opinion. For the Fathers alleged for the second opinion do not hand it on as certain; nay, neither do they put much force on the precise and proper number ten, but on the division of the empire into several kingdoms, and they use that number because Scripture so speaks. Now it is clear that the number ten is one of those that is in Sacred Scripture taken for a large or whole multitude. Hence, when the authority of Augustine and the doubt of others are added, he who doubts in that place about the signification of the number ten does not seem able to be condemned or judged rash or daring. Especially because about the number of the seven heads, both in this place of Daniel and in that of Revelation ch. 13, many doubt whether it signifies a definite number or some community or collection of impious kings, as we saw above in chapter 4. Hence in this place Daniel says that three horns were rooted up before the face of the little horn, although he understand it precisely of three kings, because the number three is not wont to be taken in any indefinite signification, nor is it there necessary, nevertheless by the seven other kings, who are to be subjected to or confederated with Antichrist, all the others who will exist at that time could be understood, whether they be fewer or more, because the number seven is among the mystical ones that are wont to signify universality; and not without authority or without any apparent occasion is such a signification there assumed, so that the prophecy may be more easily understood and fulfilled.
spacer 7. For these reasons, then, I do not think the certitude of the second opinion should be exaggerated too much, although I consider it should be preferred and is simply true. First, because of the testimonies of Scripture, because not in one or another place but in many, both in Revelation and in Daniel, when the division of the Roman Empire into many kingdoms is under this figure foretold, it is done under the number ten. Second, because there is no necessity for metaphor or impropriety in the term, since nothing prevents those future kingdoms from being ten and not more; and multiplication could as easily happen in that number as in any other. Especially because, although perhaps more small kingdoms, or lesser principalities, could at that time exist in the Roman world, nevertheless all could be reduced to ten principle kingdoms and heads, as it were. Thus, therefore, can that number ten easily be taken properly and precisely, nor is it necessary to have recourse to indefinite numbers. Third, because of the more common consent of the Fathers.
spacer 8. Nor is the first conjecture of the King of England of any moment, but it should be turned into the contrary; for because John is alluding to this place of Daniel, and because in this place the number ten is more probably being taken properly, therefore the judgment should be the same in the places of Revelation. But to the other argument, which he takes from comparison with the number of seven heads and ten horns attributed to the dragon or the Devil, saying that it cannot be understood otherwise than about a definite number put for an indefinite, we reply by denying the assumption. And since he himself does not designate the place of which he is speaking, we must run through the three places where John makes mention of that number, namely in chs.12, 13, and 17.
spacer 9. And indeed we admit that in ch. 12 the number is attributed to the Devil; for John plainly says, v. 3, “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns.” And yet even in that place we say that the heads and the ten horns are the same as in ch. 13 and in Daniel ch. 7. For although the discussion is there about the Devil and in other places about Antichrist, the organs and members or instruments of each are those heads and horns, that is, the ten kings, three of whom Antichrist will destroy and seven will serve him, for the Devil and Antichrist will be very closely joined, not indeed by hypostatic union, as some have imagined, but by moral influence and motion. For Antichrist will, while he lives, be totally possessed, moved, and governed by the Devil; and thus he will be the chief member and as it were the conjunct organ wherewith the Devil will move the rest to the same end and the same effects. And therefore those ten horns and seven heads are attributed both to the Devil and to Antichrist; to the Devil as principal but more remote agent in that order; to Antichrist as to the more proximate but, if compared with the Devil, less principal agent. Although, in respect of other men, Antichrist can also be said to be principal cause, hence he is by the saints and theologians blue also called the head of the wicked, of all of them indeed by excess and abundance of malice, but of those whom he will subjugate in his own time, and whom he will use as instruments, by influence and motion as well.
spacer 10. But the second place is Revelation ch. 13, and there the discussion is not of the dragon but of the beast to whom, v. 2, “the dragon gave his power,” that is, of Antichrist, and so there too one should not explain the definite number with an indefinite. The third place is Revelation ch. 17, where the beast can indeed represent the Devil, and then the same must be said as we said about ch. 12. Either it can signify the Roman Empire, as was also seen above, and then are those same ten kings, on whom the Roman Empire stands, represented, as the same John expounded, and thus there as well the same number is definite. And about the number of the seven heads we showed above in chapter 5 that it signifies, not an indefinite, but a definite number. Which the King of England also admits, since he says that the seven heads are seven regimes of the Roman City, and neither more nor fewer; whence one can retort with an argument ad hominem that the same should be said of the number ten.
spacer 11. Before passing on, however, to the eleventh little horn, we must here briefly consider the new and remarkable interpretation of those ten kings that the King of England has provided for us. For he says that those kings are all the Christian kings who, from the time of the decline of the Roman Empire, marched under obedience to the Roman Pontiff, and about them he expounds the words of Revelation 17:12, “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,” “because,” he says, “the more illustrious kingdoms of the Christian world did not lay claim to their liberty until the pagan Roman Empire was collapsing.” Hence he infers that those kings began at the same time as Antichrist inaugurated his kingdom, that is, at the time of Boniface III, as he himself expounded earlier. And of these kings he says that they persevered for a long time in one mind, “worshipping the beast, kissing its feet, conceding it all power and authority, drinking down together with it the chalice of idolatry, making war with the lamb in persecution of the saints at the command of it which ruled over so many nations and peoples.” But as to what John. after the words, v. 14, “these shall make war with the lamb,” subjoins, “and the lamb shall overcome them,” he expounds by saying, “through our conversion after we shall finally at some point hate the whore,” that is, Rome, “and leave her desolate and naked &c.” “Next,” he says, “he (namely the angel or John) subjoins a reason for this very sudden change in us, when he says, v. 17, ‘For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will…and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.’” This is the interpretation of the king about the ten kings in Revelation; and since he himself says that John is alluding to the words of Daniel, he indicates that he thinks the same about the ten horns in Daniel.
spacer 12. But before we reject this interpretation, we must explain what is to be understood by the little horn. About which we cannot affirm what the King of England thinks, because he makes no mention of it in his disputation; but, as I said at the beginning of the chapter, what is deserving of wonder and generates suspicion is that he does not believe the horn represents Antichrist. But if perchance this is so, who then, I ask, is the horn? Or why is it separately and individually numbered? Especially since the king says that the number ten does not signify a definite number, but is put for an indefinite one, wherein is also included that eleventh king represented by the little horn. What, to be sure, the king could reply that would be likely or satisfy the prudent does not easily come to mind. I know, indeed, that Porphyry said that the horn represented Antiochus, nor are there lacking others who thought it signified Mahomet or the Turk. However, Jerome refutes Porphyry because Antiochus preceded the Roman Empire and drew an illustrious origin from Alexander the Great and from the empire of the Macedonians, and he was born king or prince; but the horn is foretold to be after the Roman Empire and its division, and is said to be little because of its humble beginning and rise. The other opinions, indeed, can also be easily refuted, because the properties are not in those kingdoms found which are there attributed to the horn, as I touched on above in chapter 2, and as the reader will be able easily to understand from what is to be said; for now it is not necessary to delay over them.
spacer 13. Let it be certain and fixed, then, that the little horn represents Antichrist; for, when all the places of Scripture have been considered, as well as the prediction of Christ about the great tribulation of the Church that will happen just before the judgment, in no one else can all the properties there predicted by Daniel and attributed to that horn be found save in Antichrist. And thus in affirming this opinion do all the Fathers and expositors agree, Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory, whom I referred to above in chapter 2, Athanasius epist. Ad Solitar. Vitam Agentes near the end, Justin Against Trypho a little from the beginning, Origen, Book VI Contra Celsum near the middle, Cyril of Jerusalem Catechesis 15, IrenaeusV Contra Haereses chs. 25 and 26, Theodoret orat.7 on Daniel, Prosper in Dimidium Temporis ch. 8, Ruffinus in Exposit. Symbol. on the article about the coming to judgment, and the rest of the expositors both of Daniel and of Revelation and of Paul , 2 Thessalonians 2, where Chyrsostom is very good.
spacer 14. Hence, therefore, we gather, to begin with, that the interpretation the king hands on about the ten horns is false, namely, that they are all the kingdoms of the Christian world that from the time of the Emperor Phocas up to Luther, or up to Henry VIII King of England, gave obedience to the Roman Pontiff. For the ten kings whom Daniel mentions never gave obedience to Antichrist, or to the little horn, but rather, as soon as the horn rose up, three of the ten horns, v. 8, “were plucked up by the roots,” because, as is said later, v. 24, “he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.” Where clearly the prophet is speaking of temporal power and of usurpation of three kingdoms by wars and other like force. Hence all the Fathers and expositors add that, when the three kings have been vanquished, the remaining seven will give their hands to Antichrist and will be, by force and fear rather than of their own accord, allied to him as inferiors and subjects. But no Pontiff, whether Boniface III or anybody else, overcame three kings in war, nor were any others subjected to him in terror against their will and by war or power or the victories of the Pope, but were drawn to him by faith and divine calling; therefore the things said about the ten horns and about the little eleventh one cannot be accommodated to Christian kings and the Roman Pontiff. For the reason most of all that the three kings whom the little horn will vanquish are the kings of Ethiopia, Egypt, and Libya or Africa, as is the common tradition of the Fathers, whom I have often referred to, taken from Daniel 11 as it is there expounded by Jerome, Theodoret, and others. But the Supreme Pontiffs never waged war in Egypt or Ethiopia, nor desired to dominate those kingdoms.
spacer 15. In addition, it is clear from the vision of Daniel that, before the rise of the little horn, the fourth beast, that is the Roman Empire, will be torn apart into ten kingdoms; for the angel expressly says to Daniel, v. 24, “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise; and another shall arise after them.” Those ten kings, then, will be of the same Roman kingdom; therefore a division will first be made among them before the little horn arises. And the Roman Pontificate, even as to the state which it had under Boniface III, began before so great a decline or division of the Roman Empire; for at that time the Roman Empire was still enduring under one emperor, Phocas, and it endured for a long time afterwards, at any rate up to the division of the empire into West and East. And although there were then many impious kings in the earth, they had not yet altogether thrown off the yoke of the empire or had obtained supreme power. So neither were they the ten kings of whom John is speaking, nor could the little horn be Boniface III or any like successor to him.
spacer 16. Besides, not only do the actual events not agree with the words and vision of the prophet, but the truth of the thing is opposed. Because Boniface set up no kingdom as is predicted of the little horn by Daniel, nor did he receive or usurp any new power or jurisdiction; nay neither a new name or title, as has been often said. Therefore, although his personal rise or election to dignity was after the kings, yet the Pope, or the Pontifical throne, about which heretics are most of all speaking, could not be said to have arisen after the division of the empire into ten kingdoms, nay nor after any decline in it. For in truth it began with the empire itself, and it began to have external splendor and majesty while the empire was still flourishing under Constantine; but in external or temporal dominion it grew a little, and had various vicissitudes over time. Therefore in no way can be said of it that it came after the ten kings, or after all the kings among whom the Roman Empire was divided or must be divided. And hence neither can those ten kings be the Catholic or Christian kings who have hitherto marched under obedience to the Vicar of Christ.
spacer 17. All the other things, indeed, that the King of England, after his interpretation of the ten kings, adds to his exposition of the other words of John display so much absurdity that they do not need refutation. For, to begin with, he inflicts great injury, not only on the rest of the illustrious Christian kingdoms and on their kings, but also on his own kingdom and his own progenitors, when he calls all of them up to Henry VIII enemies of Christ for “making war with the lamb” and “persecuting the faith” and “persecuting the saints” and “cultivating idols, drinking down the chalice of idolatry along with the beast.” For what war have so many holy kings and Catholic princes raised up against Christ? Or which saints have they persecuted, or which idols have they worshipped? Certainly if to venerate the Pontiff, Vicar of Christ, was to persecute Christ, this did Constantine do, and the other pious and Catholic emperors and kings. If to repress the rashness and obstinacy of heretics is to persecute the saints, this did the ancient pastors of the Church, aided by the power of the Christian emperors, from the times of Augustine and other holy Fathers. Finally, if to venerate images or to use them with reverence is the cult of idols, this did all Christians from the beginning of the Church. Therefore, let him either make all the Catholic princes who were in the Church after Constantine, nay all the holy Pontiffs too, into antichristians, or let him cease to insult the later ones who were in it from the time of Boniface.
spacer 18. Besides, the interpretation of the words, v. 14, “and the lamb shall overcome them,” that “to overcome” is “to convert” them so that they rise up against the Pope and the Roman City, is clearly repugnant to the propriety of the words and to the context of John when he says, about the ten kings, v. 13, “These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.” For three of them, conquered and overcome by Antichrist, will transfer all their power to him, not voluntarily, but compelled by necessity, while the others, fearing his power, will help him and serve his counsels. And thus all will rise against Christ, as is subjoined, v. 14, “These shall make war with the lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them,” not only the ten kings but also Antichrist himself, the principal enemy and leader in the battle. He will not, then, overcome by converting, but by fighting and by killing, and by properly and truly conquering them, “for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings;” and this is made more clear by the words that follow, “and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful,” that is, those who will then exist will also conquer them or be partakers in the victory. Therefore, those kings who will be conquered will not be called, or chosen, or faithful; therefore “to be overcome” is not “to be converted” but “to be destroyed.” And this is also confirmed by the same John in ch.16 where he says that three evil spirits will, v. 14, “gather the kings of the earth to the battle of that great day of God Almighty,” that is, the day on which God will show his power against them, conquering and overcoming them in miraculous fashion, as the same John describes in ch. 21. For without doubt this battle of the great day of God Almighty is nothing but the battle of Gog and Magog, of which he treats in the same ch .21, as the better interpreters have understood it. blue Lastly, we will from the places of Daniel a little later confirm that this is the true sense of that prophecy and of the victory to be achieved by Christ.
spacer 19. Hence it is clear too that it is altogether false that those ten kings are to be converted by God to be against Antichrist, or that they will fight against him and will conquer him and his seat, and will pursue his royal city with so much hatred that they will deliver it to the fire and totally overthrow it. For this is repugnant to the express words of John cited a little before, v. 17, “These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.” For from the following words too, which we have expounded, is clearly gathered that they will persevere in that state until they fight against Christ and are overcome by him; never, therefore, will they fight against Antichrist, nor overcome him.
spacer 20. Nay in those same words, which the king twists, is this clearly contained. For he says, v. 17, “For God hath put it in their hearts,” that is, of the kings, “to give their kingdom to the beast,” that is, to Antichrist, “until the words of God shall be fulfilled,” that is, are brought to completion, which were foretold about the destruction of Babylon and about the death of Antichrist himself. But God is said to have put it into the hearts of the kings, not by inspiring or suggesting, but (according to the mode of speaking of Scripture) by permitting, and by using their malice for the execution of his providence. In this way, then, will God permit those kings, perhaps previously Catholic but corrupt and wicked, to be joined to Antichrist, and to devote to him their favor and power, and thus to hand over to him their kingdoms, and make them tributary to fate, until the prophecies about Antichrist are fulfilled. The confederacy, then, will endure up to the end; never, then, will those kings rise up against Antichrist or his kingdom. Wherefore, if the “Babylon” and “whore” and “great city” which those kings will hate and “shall make desolate and naked” is Rome, assuredly is there thence rather drawn a proof that Rome will never be the royal seat of Antichrist and that the assailants against Rome will not be the enemies but the friends of Antichrist. When, therefore, the King of England numbers himself among those kings, saying “we hold the whore in hatred,” he is numbering himself among the allies and supporters of Antichrist; let him see and consider, then, what the fruit is that follows from those his interpretations.
spacer 21. With the interpretation, then, of the ten horns thus exploded, and with the supposition that for certain they represent ten kings who will be at the time of Antichrist and will hand over, in the way explained, their power to him, it is more evident too that the little horn is Antichrist, as the Church has always understood. It remains, then, for us briefly to see how the prophet describes the little horn. For first must be weighed the property indicated in the word “little,” for it is set down to signify that Antichrist is to arise from the most vile beginnings and from the most abject parents and from an infamous nation, for not without mystery is that word added, as all have understood. And it is, in the other words immediately added, made more clear, since about the same little horn is said, Daniel 16:8, “there came up among them;” for it is signified there, as I noted above, that he will not arise from one of those kings but in their lands will appear.
spacer 22. Hence a second property can be noted, namely, that he will not have a kingdom by hereditary right; but from small beginnings, by various arts and impostures and tricks of the Devil, he is in a short time so to grow in strength that “before him there were three of the first horns plucked up,” that is, that in a brief time “he shall subdue three kings” and his look “was more stout than this fellows,” as is said in the same place, vv. 24 and 20, and as Theodoret rightly expounded when he said: “Because he saw the horn being born, he called it small as having proceeded from the little nation of the Jews, and as obtaining in the meantime an obscure kingdom, but, after he has plucked up three kings, he rightly calls him greater than the rest.” Again, the third property I gather from the same words, namely that he will be first and chiefly a tyrant, who will begin his kingdom first with industry and corrupt arts, afterwards he will increase through power and wars, overcoming three kings and depriving them of their kingdoms, and subjecting the rest to himself, or joining them to himself as inferiors and weaker, as is made more clear by John in Revelation.
spacer 23. The fourth property can be taken from the words, v .8, “and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” Where, by eyes of man, Theodoret understands to be signified interior mind and judgment, and that the eyes of man are attributed to Antichrist because he will be very astute and will govern with human prudence. Others expound it more simply in this way. Although he is going to have the face of a man, because he will be a true man, he will not speak as a man but as a most proud Devil; because John elsewhere said, Revelation 13:11, “he spake as a dragon.” For he is said to speak “great things,” or grand things, both because he will bear himself in great pride, and also because he will speak forth blasphemies against God; for as is immediately subjoined, Daniel 7:25, “he shall speak great words against the most High,” for both are properly signified in those words, and one is the consequent of the other. For he will with incredible arrogance proclaim himself to be God (as we noted from Paul), and so he will direct himself against the most high God and speak against him.
spacer 24. The fifth property is taken from the words, v. 25. “he shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” Which words are about the persecution of Antichrist and the time of its duration, which were expounded above as occasion demanded. Now to be noted are only the words: “he shall…think to change times and laws.” Wherein is declared that the persecution will not only be temporal and political because of temporal domination, but at the same time, and most of all, spiritual, for he will try “to change times,” that is (as Jerome says), ceremonies, feast days, or certainly the whole Religion that has for a long time been established in the world and been rooted in the hearts of men, “and laws,” that is, both divine and human. Nor will he himself profess any of the ancient religions or laws, but will introduce a new one, believing that he can change laws and times. And the same notes of Antichrist does Athanasius in the said epist. Ad Solitar. Vitam Agent. gather when he says, “Does not Daniel’s vision in these notes surely signify Antichrist? Namely, because he will make war with the saints, and shall prevail against them, because in malice he will surpass all who were before him, and because he will subdue three kings, and will speak words against the most High, and because he will plan to change the articles of both times and laws.” The sixth property can be gathered from the following words, vv. 26 - 27, “But judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High &c.” For in these words is put as note of Antichrist that he will arrive near the times of judgment, and that only by the coming of the supreme king Christ will his kingdom be consumed and he himself be killed. Which property, as pertaining to the times of Antichrist, we explained above, and it is pointed out there by Jerome, Theodoret, and other interpreters.
spacer 25. Now these properties of Antichrist the same prophet in the following chapters partly confirms and clarifies further, partly also increases them. For in ch. 8, after he has reported the vision of the ram, the he goat, and has declared them of Darius the king of the Persians and of Alexander the Great king of the Greeks, he finally at the end puts forward certain things that, although they are literally understood about Antiochus, who descended from the Greek kings that succeeded Alexander and much vexed the Jews, have been by many Fathers understood to be in his person said of Antichrist. Especially Irenaeus bk.5 Contra Haereres ch. 25, and Origen,. Book VI of Contra Celsum near the middle, and Gregory, Moralia XXXII.12, elsewhere 14. And in truth the words of the prophet so properly square with Antichrist and are so consonant with the things that are in other places said of Antichrist, that they seem to be said of Antiochus chiefly because of him. For his beginning is foretold in these words, v. 9, “And out of one of them came forth a little horn,” and again, v. 23, “a king of fierce countenance…shall stand up,” where his morals are also noted. But about his progress it is added, v. 9, “which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east &c.” Of his state is said, v. 10, “he waxed great, even to the host of heaven.” Now his astuteness and arts, by which he will rise, are signified in these words, v. 23:, “understanding dark sentences,” and again in these, v.24: “And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power,” that is, not by the power of himself but in any event by that of the Devil, God permitting it. Now of his wars and cruelty it is said: “and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice.” Next, his pride and battle against God is thus described, v. 11, “Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.” And again, v. 25, “he shall magnify himself in his heart…he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes.” And then about the persecution of the saints it is said, v. 10, “it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.” And again, vv. 24 - 25, “he shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper.” And lastly about his end is it said, v .25, “he shall be broken without hand,” which sufficiently accords with the words of Paul, 2 Thessalonians 2.8, “whom the Lord shall consume with the breath of his mouth.”
spacer 26. Although, therefore, these things were truly and literally fulfilled in their own way of Antiochus, yet they are believed to have been said by antonomasia of Antichrist; for in him are they all with greater fullness and excess found as if in the head of Antiochus himself and of evil men. Now from all these things are the six properties noted above chiefly made clear. And there is only added another about the mode of his being killed, which can be the seventh. For the eighth can be taken from ch.9 of the same prophet in almost its last words, v. 27, “for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate;” for although it is in other ways expounded both there and in Matthew 24, nevertheless it is very probable that it is also understood of Antichrist, as Irenaeus wished , V.25, at least in a secondary or mystical sense. For the literal discussion is not there of Antichrist, but of the destruction of Jerusalem done by Titus, as is clear; however the words agree much more with Antichrist, according to what we said when expounding the words of Paul and of Revelation. The eighth property, then, is that he will make himself God and will sit in the temple so that he is worshipped, and he will place his image, and through it too will he be worshipped as God, as is said in Revelation. And this will be further confirmed from the following testimony.
spacer 27. For there is another similar place in the same prophet ch. 11, from the words, v. 21, “And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom; but he shall come in peaceably [alt. secretly], and obtain the kingdom by flatteries [alt. fraud].” For in the whole first part of the chapter Daniel had prophesied about the kings of the Persians and the Greeks, and more at large about the successors of Alexander, and especially about the kings of Syria and Egypt, whom he calls the kings of the south and of the north, and eventually he comes (as Jerome deduces) to Seleucus Philopator, the son of Antiochus the Great, whom he calls, v. 20, “a most vile person, and unworthy of the royal honor [alt. a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom],” and about him he subjoins, “within a few days he shall be destroyed.” And at once he adds the words, “And in his estate shall stand up a vile person &c.” Which words, according to the context of the letter and the sequence of the prophecy and of history, are without doubt understood of Antiochus Epiphanes, a most impious king, brother of Seleucus, who vehemently harassed the people of God, as is clear from the books of the Maccabees; and almost all that follows in that chapter is said literally of him, as Jerome admits there, and Theodoret and others, and it is taken from Chrysostom orat. 2 Contra Iudaeos. Yet, nevertheless, the same Jerome, Theodoret, and other expositors there, and Gregory in Moralia XXXII.11, and Prosper in Dimidio Temporis ch. 9 understand many of those words to be said of Antichrist, because they very much befit him, and because Antiochus in many things was a type of Antichrist.
spacer 28. By those words, then, which we have reported, is confirmed and explained what is said in other places about the beginnings of Antichrist. For he is said to be “a vile person” just as he is said to be “a little horn,” because he has a vile and despised origin, and therefore at the beginning “they shall not give to him the honor of the kingdom,” because he will not originate from kings, nor will he obtain the kingdom by hereditary right, but “shall come in secretly, and obtain the kingdom by fraud;” because he will be cunning and will understand “dark sentences.” But in the following words Daniel does indeed describe the wars and victories of Antiochus, when he says, v. 24, “he shall enter…upon the fattest places of the province &c.” But under their figure are predicted the battles and crimes of Antichrist, and therefore sometimes they are so exaggerated that only with Antichrist do they seem able to agree. Such is the remark, v. 24, he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers;” which things Jerome notes are not properly accommodated to Antiochus, because he did not in kingdom and riches exceed all his predecessors. They are set down, then, because of Antichrist, who will obtain a much fuller power and monarchy than Antiochus obtained. But afterwards the prophet describes the persecution of Antiochus against the Jews, depicting also in figure the persecution under Antichrist of the Church, to whom do most agree the words, “he shall forecast his devices,” namely his counsels, “against the strong holds,” and will arm power against the strong thoughts of the holy faithful, as the Fathers expound; hence it is said later, v. 28, “his heart shall be against the holy covenant, and he shall do exploits.” And later, v. 31, “they shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.” All which things Antiochus did in his way; but just as everything in figure happened to the Jews, so were they a shadow in respect of the truth that will be in Antichrist.
spacer 29. But afterwards most properly are about the pride and blasphemies of Antichrist the words, v. 36, “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods &c.” And later, v. 37, “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers…nor regard any god; for he shall magnify himself above all.” By which words is very well explained what we treated of above, where it is said of the little horn that it had a mouth speaking great things. Again, what we said about the words of Paul, that he will show himself as God, usurping the true place and worship of God. Hence the Fathers gather from this place that Antichrist will demolish the idols of the nations and will not worship the gods of the nations. From which Jerome also notes that these words so agree with Antichrist that they cannot be understood of Antiochus, who was an idolater, and compelled the Hebrews to worship the gods of the nations, as is narrated in the books of the Maccabees. This, then, can be the ninth property of Antichrist, namely that he will not be a worshipper of idols, which is to be understood to mean in public or of the ancient gods of the nations. For Daniel at once adds, v. 38, that he will honor the God Maozim [“God of forces”], about which there is much controversy and various expositions as to who he will be, but these are not important for the present. And it seems more probable that Antichrist will have some secret place in which he will secretly worship the Devil, his helper, under some image or idol, as I treated of in vol. II part. 3 disp. 54 art. 4; where I did not say, as some have imposed on me, that perhaps those words are to be understood only of Antiochus, but I reported this opinion in first place, and then I preferred the common opinion, that of Jerome and of Theodoret, and I confirmed it with the argument of Jerome, which I have also touched on in the present place, and it is a very strong one.
spacer 30. Next, in the remaining part of the chapter the prophet foretells the battles and victories of Antichrist, and in particular how he will conquer the three kings of Egypt, Africa or Libya, and Ethiopia, and will seize their kingdoms. But afterwards he will come with great power to Jerusalem, to war against it, vv. 44 - 45, “he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain,” which Jerome and others expound of Mt. Zion or Mt. Olivet. And finally about his death is subjoined: “yet shall he come to his end, and none shall help him,” because, that is, 2 Thessalonians 2:8, “the Lord shall consume him with the spirit of his mouth,” or with his empire, and, Daniel 8:25, “without hand;” for the Lord will command the earth to be opened so as to devour him, and he will be cast alive into hell, as is said in Revelation 19:20. But a little later in ch. 12 Daniel declares how long a time the persecution of Antichrist will last, how shortly after his death there will be the judgment and universal resurrection, as Augustine expounded in De Civitate Dei XX.23, and as was fully expounded above. And these, more or less, are the notes and signs of Antichrist wherewith Daniel has described Antichrist for us, which are pursued more extensively by Jerome and Theodoret and, among the moderns, by Pereira, Books VIII and XIV on Daniel, and by Malvenda here and there in his learned books on Antichrist.
spacer 31. Let all, then, who have faith in the Scriptures, compare these properties and notes of Antichrist with those that are manifest to the whole world about the Roman Pontiff, and they will be able to see clearer than light how great was the impudence, and the horrendous rashness, or rather insanity of the heretics who have dared to dishonor the venerable Apostolic See with such incredible infamy, and how great is the blindness of those who allow themselves to be tricked by their trifling and inane thoughts. For Antichrist’s beginnings will be abject and obscure, not only in race and origin (for that is not much to be concerned about), but in kingdom and power. But the origin of the Roman See cannot be conceived, as to its very dignity, to be higher, for it was founded by Christ himself and has thence flowed by legitimate succession to individual persons, even the persons of Boniface and those after him. Next, Antichrist’s kingdom will be by him begun through false arts and tyranny; but the kingdom of the Pontiff had no chief beginning after Christ, but had succession, not by fraud or tyranny but by legitimate election. Add to these that Antichrist’s kingdom will be temporal, will begin through fraud, and will be expanded by wars and slaughter of enemies; but the primacy of the Pontiff is spiritual and, as to its dignity considered in itself, is always the same, and although it has, as to subjection of peoples, increased, yet not by corporeal wars, but by the word of God and the faith of believers. By which faith, as it has at one time been expanded, so by the infidelity of some it has in some places been diminished, although by the grace of God it always grows elsewhere. I pass over the rest that pertains to morals, times, seats, and ends, for we have above sufficiently compared them among themselves, and shown that they are not only diverse but even altogether opposite. And now we wish only to note, and to draw attention to, how great is in all these things the consonance and concord of the Scriptures, so that it is thence too apparent how violent to the visions of Revelation are the accommodations of Protestants; since these are not only willful and without precedent and contrary to the propriety of the words and against the truth of things, but they are also contrary to other clearer places of the Scriptures, by which, according to the prudent rule for interpreting Scripture, the more obscure places should be understood.




1. Introduction. spacer2. Sum of the whole book in more or less each chapter.spacer 3 - 4. Heretics a type of Antichrist.

LTHOUGH the matter and argument of this book seem to contain nothing but calumny, or certainly rather horrendous blasphemy, and so to many of the prudent it could seem perhaps better to omit them than, with offense to pious ears, to bring a thing so incredible to the question; nevertheless we have judged that this our labor will neither be vain nor be of much offence to pious ears. For since the most serene King of England, in his discourse on Antichrist, seems to put such confidence in his conjectures that he boldly demands, as a thing arduous for us or indeed impossible, a response through the individual parts of his disputation to them, it has seemed, not only useful, but also necessary both to respond to them individually and also to show that everything objected has been without solid foundation thought out, and does not even deserve the name of conjecture. So much so that it is certainly to be wondered at, in a thing of such great moment that the hinge of eternal salvation turns on it, that prudent men could be carried off by such slight allusions or allegories.
spacer 2. For this cause, therefore, did we set down first a foundation about the person of Antichrist, and we demonstrated from the words, order, and concord of the Scriptures, and also from the common consent of the Fathers, that he will be a certain individual man. Next, by running through the individual parts proposed by the king, we have from the same principles shown that, to begin with, his time has not yet come, and that the persecution, such as was not from the beginning, which is to be launched by him, has not yet begun, and that the witnesses to be sent against him have yet to appear. But afterwards we proved that his seat neither is nor ever will be at Rome. And lastly we have, from the properties foretold at large about him by the prophets and Apostles, considered the person of Antichrist, and how he will through incredible tyranny, and deceptive arts, and lying signs, and huge battles, ascend from the lowest beginnings to the monarchy of the world, and next that he will come to it in such great arrogance and pride that he will be exalted above all that is called God; we have so described him that it is very evident that no mortal man, much less the Roman Pontiff, has hitherto been so wicked and abominable.
spacer 3. But if some image of him is in any part of the earth to be thought of, we have shown that he is not certainly to be thought of in the holy Roman See, but in the chairs of heresiarchs, or on the royal thrones of pagans and schimastics who persecute the Roman Church. Just as Jerome called Antiochus and Nero Antichrist, Damascene Mahomet, Irenaeus the Marcionites and similar heretics, Cyprian all the adversaries of Christ. For none save some among these Antichrists and enemies of Christ has transferred such a name or such a calumny to the Roman Pontiff. Nor has it been able to arise in the thinking of him who, along with Augustine and other Fathers, has considered with attentive mind the plainly divine origin of that See, and its happy progress, and admirable stability.
spacer 4. It remains, most serene king, that, setting aside all perturbation of spirit, you should think over with attentive mind the force of the reasons and the weight of the authority, and should reflect how many absurdities do from a free study of Scripture proceed; considering at the same time the very grave words of St. Jerome who, when disputing with Porphyry on Daniel 11, thus concluded: “This therefore have I in more prolix manner set down, that I might show the difficulty of Sacred Scripture, whose understanding none claim without the grace of God and the doctrine of our elders for themselves save even especially the most unskilled.”


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