1) The beast that rises from the sea: symbolizes the material forces of evil, arrayed against the Church [Cf. Psalm 2]. This is the antichrist who will reveal the Antichrist: the man of lawlessness, the son of perdition.
2) The second beast: ‘the false prophets’ [the preeminent one the false prophet].
3) The dragon is that great dragon that was thrown down from heaven, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world.
Cf. The Explanatory Notes to The Revelation to John in The Navarre Bible – New Testament Compact Edition.
7. FROM AUGUST TO THE CLOSE OF OCTOBER, 1820
Sister Emmerich’s labors at this time were constantly directed to the welfare of the Church which, as usual, she beheld typified by St. Peter’s, at Rome. The secret society, with its world-wide ramifications engaged in ceaseless war against the Bride of Christ, was shown her as the empire of Antichrist symbolized by the beast in the Apocalypse rising out of the sea and fomenting attacks upon the flock of Christ. In relating this vision, the Pilgrim makes the following remarks: “It is, indeed, full of breaks, for the invalid saw it under allegorical representations difficult for her to describe. What is most astonishing, is that it touches upon many points of the Apocalypse of St. John, of which humanly speaking she must have been wholly ignorant, as she has very little knowledge of the Holy Scriptures or of any other book. If, at times, she seems to read, it is with a mind deeply absorbed in contemplation and she sees very different things from those discussed in the volume before her. The vision is, as follows: ‘I see new martyrs, not of the present but of the future, though even now they are oppressed. I saw the secret society undermining the great church (St Peter’s) and near them a horrible beast that arose out of the sea. It had a tail like a fish, claws like a lion, and numberless heads that lay like a crown around one large head ; its jaws were large and red, its body spotted like a tiger. It was very familiar with the demolishers, lying near them whilst they worked, and, again, concealing itself in a cave. Here and there throughout the whole world 1 saw many good, pious people, especially ecclesiastics, harassed, imprisoned, and oppressed, and I felt that at some future day, they would be martyred. When the church was well-nigh overturned, the choir and altar alone remaining untouched, 1 saw the demolishers thronging into it accompanied by the beast. But they encountered a tall, majestic female who seemed to be with child for she walked very slowly. The wretches were filled with affright on seeing her and the beast lay paralyzed, furiously darting its head toward her, as if to devour her; but she turned and fell prostrate on her face. Then 1 saw the beast fleeing to the sea, the enemy hurrying off in disorder, and immense circles of combatants surrounding the church, some on the earth, others high in the air. The first circle was composed of youths and maidens ; the second, of married persons of all classes from royalty down; the third, of religious; the fourth, of warriors, led by a rider on a white horse ; and the fifth and last was made up of citizens and peasants, many of whom were marked on the forehead with a red cross. As this army drew near, the captives and oppressed were delivered and swelled the ranks, whilst the demolishers and conspirators were put to flight on all sides. They were, without knowing how, gathered together into one confused mass in the midst of a dense fog ; they knew neither what they did nor what they ought to do ; and they ran pell-mell against one another, as I so often see them. Then I saw the church speedily rebuilt and more magnificent than before, for its defenders brought stones from all parts of the earth. When the most distant circles drew near, the nearest withdrew to make way for them. The former appeared to represent the various labors of prayer; the latter, the soldiers, the deeds of war. I saw among these last friends and enemies of all nations, simply soldiers like our own and dressed like them. They did not form a perfect circle, but a crescent opening toward the north into an immense dark abyss like a chasm, a precipice, like a descent into darkness, like that to which Adam was driven from Paradise. I felt that a region of darkness lay beyond. I saw that some out of these circles remained behind. They would not advance, but stood gloomily huddled together. I saw some also who would one day be martyred for Jesus; but there were many wicked people among them, and another separation was to take place. The church was completely restored. Above it on a mountain, was the Lamb of God surrounded by a troop of virgins with palm-branches, and five circles of celestial cohorts corresponding to the five circles below. They all arrived together, and all acted in concert. Around the Lamb stood the four mysterious beasts of the Apocalypse.”
Exhortation to Patience and Trust
A Psalm of David.
37 Fret not yourself because of the wicked,
be not envious of wrongdoers!
2 For they will soon fade like the grass,
and wither like the green herb.
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your vindication as the light,
and your right as the noonday.
7 Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over him who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!
8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
9 For the wicked shall be cut off;
but those who wait for the Lord shall possess the land.
10 Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look well at his place, he will not be there.
11 But the meek shall possess the land,
and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
12 The wicked plots against the righteous,
and gnashes his teeth at him;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that his day is coming.
14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows,
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those who walk uprightly;
15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
and their bows shall be broken.
16 Better is a little that the righteous has
than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken;
but the Lord upholds the righteous.
18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
and their heritage will abide for ever;
19 they are not put to shame in evil times,
in the days of famine they have abundance.
20 But the wicked perish;
the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures,
they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.
21 The wicked borrows, and cannot pay back,
but the righteous is generous and gives;
22 for those blessed by the Lord shall possess the land,
but those cursed by him shall be cut off.
23 The steps of a man are from the Lord,
and he establishes him in whose way he delights;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the Lord is the stay of his hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old;
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging bread.
26 He is ever giving liberally and lending,
and his children become a blessing.
27 Depart from evil, and do good;
so shall you abide for ever.
28 For the Lord loves justice;
he will not forsake his saints.
The righteous shall be preserved for ever,
but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall possess the land,
and dwell upon it for ever.
30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
and his tongue speaks justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;
his steps do not slip.
32 The wicked watches the righteous,
and seeks to slay him.
33 The Lord will not abandon him to his power,
or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.
34 Wait for the Lord, and keep to his way,
and he will exalt you to possess the land;
you will look on the destruction of the wicked.
35 I have seen a wicked man overbearing,
and towering like a cedar of Lebanon.1
36 Again I2 passed by, and lo, he was no more;
though I sought him, he could not be found.
37 Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright,
for there is posterity for the man of peace.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
the posterity of the wicked shall be cut off.
39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
he is their refuge in the time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked, and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.