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ANF07. Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries: Lactantius, Venantius, Asterius, Victorinus, Dionysius, Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Homily
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from the thirteenth chapter.23032303     [The Edinburgh edition seems to follow the confusion of MSS., introducing here the seventeenth chapter, out of place.]  

1. “And I saw a beast rising up from the sea, like unto a leopard.”] This signifies the kingdom of that time of Antichrist, and the people mingled with the variety of nations.  

2. “His feet were as the feet of a bear.”] A strong and most unclean beast, the feet are to be understood as his leaders.  

“And his mouth as the mouth of a lion.”] That is, his mouth armed for blood is his bidding, and a tongue which will proceed to nothing else than to the shedding of blood.  

* * * * * * * *  

18. “His number is the name of a man, and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”] As they have it reckoned from the Greek characters, they thus find it among many to be τειταν, for τειταν has this number, which the Gentiles call Sol and Phœbus; and it is reckoned in Greek thus: τ three hundred, ε five, ι ten, τ three hundred, α one, ν fifty,—which taken together become six hundred and sixty-six. For as far as belongs to the Greek letters, they fill up this number and name; which name if you wish to turn into Latin, it is understood by the antiphrase DICLUX, which letters are reckoned in this manner: since D figures five hundred, I one, C a hundred, L fifty, V five, X ten,—which by the reckoning up of the letters makes similarly six hundred and sixty-six, that is, what in Greek gives τειταν, to wit, what in Latin is called DICLUX; by which name, expressed by antiphrases, we understand Antichrist, who, although he be cut off from the supernal light, and deprived thereof, yet transforms himself into an angel of light, daring to call himself light.23042304     [But see Irenæus, vol. i. p. 559.]   Moreover, we find in a certain Greek codex αντεμος, which letters being reckoned up, you will find to give the number as above: α one, ν fifty, τ three hundred, ε five, μ forty, ο seventy, ς two hundred,—which together makes six hundred and sixty-six, according to the Greeks. Moreover, there is another name in Gothic of him, which will be evident of itself, that is, γενσήρικος, which in the same way you will reckon in Greek letters: γ three, ε five, ν fifty, σ two hundred, η eight, ρ a hundred, ι ten, κ twenty, ο seventy, ς also two hundred, which, as has been said above, make six hundred and sixty-six.  

11. “And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth.”] He is speaking of the great and false prophet who is to do signs, and portents, and falsehoods before him in the presence of men.  

“And he had two horns like a lamb—that is, the appearance within of a man—and he spoke like a dragon.”] But the devil speaks full of malice; for he shall do these things in the presence of men, so that even the dead appear to rise again.  

13. “And he shall make fire come down from heaven in the sight of men.”] Yes (as I also have said), in the sight of men. Magicians do these things, by the aid of the apostate angels, even to this day. He shall cause also that a golden image of Antichrist shall be placed in the temple at Jerusalem, and that the apostate angel should enter, and thence utter voices and oracles. Moreover, he himself shall contrive that his servants and children should receive as a mark on their foreheads, or on their right hands, the number of his name, lest any one should buy or sell them. Daniel had previously predicted his contempt and provocation of God. “And he shall place,” says he, “his temple within Samaria, upon the illustrious and holy mountain that is at Jerusalem, an image such as Nebuchadnezzar had made.”23052305     Dan. xi. 45.   Thence here he places, and by and by here he renews, that of which the Lord, admonishing His churches concerning the last times and their dangers, says: “But when ye shall see the contempt which is spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place, let him who readeth understand.”23062306     Matt. xxiv. 15; Dan. ix. 27.   It is called a contempt when God is provoked, because idols are worshipped instead of God, or when the dogma of heretics is introduced in the churches. But it is a turning away because stedfast men, seduced by false signs and portents, are turned away from their salvation.  


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