Of the Two-Horned Beast (who is also the False Prophet), with the Ten-Horned Beast (who is likewise called the Image of the Beast).
The two-horned beast is the founder, or re-establisher of the seven-headed beast, crowned with a diadem of ten horns, which, in fact, after his deadly wound, he restored to the image of his former state, to the great detriment of the saints, and who became possessed of power for forty-two months. Having done which, he exercises all his power before him, and shows forth, or performs, great wonders in his sight. But at length, this same two-horned beast (which John otherwise calls the false prophet), together with the other beast, in whose sight he wrought miracles, are taken as inseparable companions, and are both cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. Since, therefore, the ten-horned beast (for so I may be permitted to call the seven-headed beast when reinstated, for the sake of perspicuity), and the two-horned false prophet are not separated from each other either in their origin or destruction; but the one administers the power of the other, enopion autou; that is, in his presence; who does not perceive that they are necessarily contemporary through their whole period of time? But that the whole matter may be rightly understood, we ought to be aware that no other state of the seven-headed beast is described in the 13th chapter, than that of his restoration, or last head, in which he became ten-horned, as the whole series of the description evinces. For whatever mischief the beast is said to have perpetrated, whatever worship and adoration was paid to him by the inhabitants of the earth, is all reported as having been done after his re-establishment, or the cure of his wound. Moreover, it is manifest from the interpretation of the angel, c. xvii., that the ten horns belong to the last head or state of the beast, which is the state of his restoration; since at that time, after five heads had fallen, that is, had fulfilled their parts, the sixth was even then performing his in the age of John, and yet |the time of the horns| is said to be |not yet come.| Therefore they must necessarily belong to the seventh or last head.
On the alternate Use of the Names of the Beast and False Prophet; as also of the Beast and Image of the Beast.
The title of the synchronism reminds us of both. And first, Iræneus has observed, that, from the most ancient writers on the Apocalypse, the bicorned beast and the false prophet are the same; which, from the comparison of v.13, 14, 15, 16, of c. xiii. with v.20 of c. xix., is so clear and manifest, that it requires no farther confirmation. But what the title sets forth in addition, that the ten-horned beast is otherwise accustomed to be denoted by the name of the image of the beast, is less apparent, and would not perhaps be suspected by a reader who was not very attentive: Yet, that it is so, I am persuaded I have not rashly remarked; and therefore, wherever the beast occurs with the false prophet, (which I find it does three times,) then by the name of the beast, the ten-horned beast is alone to be understood; since, by the false prophet, it is sufficiently clear that the two-horned beast is designated. On the other hand, when you find the beast compared with the image of the beast there, by the beast the false prophet is to be understood; but by his image, the ten-horned beast, or the seven-horned beast restored: for, since the latter acknowledges the false prophet as his restorer, and suffers himself to be wholly guided by his will, as by that of a supreme lord, he is not improperly called his image; not, indeed, the image of one whose similitude he bears, as if the genitive were used passively, (for, in that respect, he is the image of another, perhaps of the seven-headed dragon, or of the state in which he flourished before his wound, in resemblance of whom he blasphemes God anew, and wages war against the Saints,) but an image, of whose restoration that two-horned and dragon-speaking beast was the author, and whom he claimed as his own; the genitive denoting the agent and possessor, as, in the same passage, the mark of the beast is not a mark impressed on the beast itself, but one with which the beast brands his worshippers.
And that what I have said is the right interpretation of the image of the beast, the first proof I would bring is, that it is said, c. xiii. v.15, that the very image of the beast, which the false prophet had just animated, caused that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be slain; nay, in other places, (that you may acknowledge the beast,) it is generally subjoined to a word expressive of worship, or as something to which worship is suited. Since, therefore, the Apocalypse describes two beasts only, and not more, this wicked majesty, with an equal power of commanding or compelling, cannot but belong to one or the other of them. Moreover, when the beast is present at the same time as the false prophet, the image of the beast does not occur in the same sentence, as if then, in fact, the appellation of beast supplied its place. Lastly, it is said to be the image of the beast, of which there is a number and a name; but the name and number of no other beast seem to be mentioned than that of the two-horned. Of the same, then, (as of a maker and lord,) he is justly said to be the image. But this image, whether it be or not the ten-horned beast, is of no consequence to our system; for the synchronism of the beasts does not rest on this hypothesis.