WILL you explain the meaning of the passage in the Apocalypse of St. John (ch. xiii, verse II)?
THE Apocalypse is a proVerb ially difficult book to interpret: but the latest scholarship offers two explanations of this text: "Then, from the land itself. ISZi another beast come up; it had two horns, like a lamb's horns, but it roared like a dragon " (Knox version).
Fr. C. C. Martindale, S.J. (whose book on the Apocalypse was reviewed in the CATHOLIC HERALD recently. writes in the " Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture ": " This beast, then, is the delegate of the first Beast [the beast from the sea, in verse I] even as he was of the Dragon. It came from the mainland, i.e., for John, the province of Asia.
"In Asia, an 'Asiarch' was highpriest of emperor-worship in each city, but also president of the league or 'commune' at that cult in the whole of 'Asia'. But delinquent Christians would be brought for actual trial and punishment to the proconsul and his subordinate magistrates " This second Beast may well then be a collectivity like the first — the civil and religious authority in the province, speaking (so far) mildly, though to the same effect as the Dragon — its horns were lamb's horns, and since he will be named the False Prophet we can recall our Lord's warning about false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly arc ravening wolves (Mt. 7: 15)."
Fr. E. B. Alio. 0.P., another modern authority on the Apocalypse, has given another interpretation: that the second Beast represented the forthcoming heresy of Gnosticism, rather than the Asiarch; as Fr. Martindale puts it, " that vague solvent 'toleration' which was then going to become Gnosticism. and which ended by mating with the Emperor cult . . "