“And I wondered with great wonder on seeing her. And the angel said to me, “At what do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and the beast carrying her, having seven heads and ten horns. And the beast which you saw — it was and is not, and shall be going to ascend out of the abyss and go to perdition.”” (Rev. 17:6-8, VL) “The beast,” he said, “which you saw.”
By saying, “and… which you saw — it was and is not,” he shows there to be another which “was and is not” – that is, the “head as if slain” (Rev. 13:3) which simulates sanctity. “It was and is not” because sometimes the hypocrites and fakers have been with the first ‘evil people,’GryTyc which on the beast is the “head as if slain,” and they are dead; and right now they are imitating the evil ones because evil ones are born from evil. These are “the beast” which “was and is not” because they have been dead already and they are not; and “the beast which you saw” are those same ones who are evil right now. And these will die, and others shall come and shall rise again out of the abyss – that is, out of the hidden people – because such ones as there shall be, at this point are not seen. These are ‘the beast’ which ‘“was and is not and shall be.”‘ Caes
He spoke about two beasts: the one with two horns which is the simulation of sanctity, which he calls the “head as if slain;” the other with seven heads, which is the people, all in all. Therefore, he speaks thus about that one: ‘“The beast was and is not and shall be going to ascend out of the abyss and’ go ‘to perdition”‘Caes – ‘that is,’ to be born and die ‘and be born’GryTyc ‘out of’Caes, GryTyc ‘the evil’GryTyc ‘people, so that it could be called, ‘beast out of beast.’Caes, GryTyc
We have already said above that saints are “born” out of saints, by imitating saints; and the wicked are born out of the wicked by imitating the wicked – not being born out of their flesh, but imitating them through their works. And when we see good children born physically [carnaliter] to the wicked, they are martyrs even now; and [when] we see evil children born from saints, they are ‘killers of the martyrs,’Aug even now.
Therefore, beast is “born” from beast, by imitating the beast; ‘or abyss out of abyss. He said that about the coming slaughter and’ GryTyc ‘ruin’Caes, GryTyc ‘of the beast being born from the beast, and going to perdition.’GryTyc And as its part from where it was born, which now is not, ‘so it is made and would not be,’GryTyc ‘and would ascend’Caes, GryTyc ‘from’GryTyc ‘the survivor’Caes ‘and goes to perdition,’Caes, GryTyc, Prim ‘like his fathers’ out of ‘whom he ascends, and now are not.’Caes, GryTyc
“And those who dwell on earth shall wonder – those whose name is not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world – on seeing the beast that was and is not and will be present.” “Those inhabiting earth,” he said, “shall wonder” – that is, the earthly ones. Therefore, they are not the heavenly ones dwelling in heaven – that is, in the Church. It is said to the just one, “You are heaven, and to heaven you will go.” It is indeed said to sinners, “You are earth, and to earth you will go.” (Gen. 3:19, VL) Concerning them, it is said, “Those inhabiting earth shall wonder” when the same beast ‘which was and is not and ascends from the abyss and goes to perdition;’Prim like the dwellers on the earth, ‘the same beast’ also ‘would wonder at the other beast which was and is not and is about to come. But’ the synonym divides ‘understanding.’GryTyc
For as we have said above: “the woman” is “upon the beast;” and here he says “the beast which you have seen — it “was and is not and is about to come.” This ‘synonym,’ as we have said, ‘confuses understanding.’GryTyc A ‘synonym is’ when ‘one thing’ is said ‘with’ dissimilar ‘words.’Isidore ‘For it is one: the beast upon which the woman sits, and the abyss, and the earth dwellers.’GryTyc And this beast which “was and is not and is about to come,” and is going to be born from the beast and is going to go to perdition, is the same. It is as if he would say openly, “Those who are evil now are dead, and are sent to Hell; and others are born from them who die and go to perdition” – that is, they are sent to Hell. For the perdition of souls is Hell.
And this beast shall wonder at seeing the other beast, “since it was and is not and is about to come.” What kind were these Christians who are dead? The same kind as those who will live are; for they have adored Christ with us under the name of Christianity and were not afraid to kill Christ in His members. When they name Christ, (cf. 2 Tim. 2:19) they reckon themselves to adore Christ, but at the word “Christ” they adore the beast – that is, their “fathers” whom they imitate in their acts. For as an example, they have the head on their body [ie, the devil] and those to whom they are conjoined. Therefore, the body wonders at the head. That is, the beast “which was and is not” and is born, wonders at seeing [the other beast], “since” [the other] beast “was and is not and is about to come.” (Rev. 17:8)
So in that working of irrational error which they do, they wonder along with us, with the ‘public voice,’Seneca at Our Lord Jesus Christ, since they are seeing He was and was killed “and is about to come.” But their spirits see the beast at the narration which resounds in their mouths, in a Catholic order, that “Christ,” “the mediator” (1 Tim. 2:5) is themselves. Indeed they know about the Lord having existed and been killed, and they hope for what is to come, and they glory in His Name, and they know about Christ doing “signs and wonders” (cf. Jn. 4:48) and “great miracles;” (Acts 8:13) but they do not know Christ nor does Christ know them; the same Lord having said to those alleging great “miracles in” His “Name,” “I never knew you… who work iniquity.” (Mt. 7:22-23) In which all the pseudo-sacerdotes and hypocrites were revealed [manifestum] not to see Christ but the beast, which finds that deception (cf. Mt. 24:24) by them as under the name ‘of charismatic gifts of Christ’Venantius – that is, of the order of sacerdotes; and of those seduced (cf. Mk. 13:22; Mt. 24:5; Mt. 24:11) by the hope of miracles, the reckless ones would “sin” (Sir. 19:4) and “neglect their duties;” (Sir. 19:6) those observing that such great miracles can in no way be done without the love of God, when they would say, “Who baptized so and so? Who consecrated such and such a virgin? Who sanctified such and such a temple? Who ordained such and such a sacerdote – if not us? Indeed, nobody would have been able to be holy, if not for having been sanctified by us.” And therefore, they assert by the “testimony” of miracles and “signs” (cf. Acts 14:3) to be Christ, (cf. Mt. 24:5) whatever they do among themselves “in the bedrooms.” (Lk. 12:3; Mt. 24:26, VL)
Therefore, there are two beasts about which he said, “It was and is not.” The abyss, which is the people or the earth dwellers, “wonders at seeing” “the beast, since it was and is not and will be about to come.” The one is born out of the abyss, the other is hoped to be born.
Aug St. Augustine of Hippo, Enarrationes in Psalmos, hom., 24. (Ps. 134:18) Also Bede, In Matthaei Evangelium Expositio, lib. 1, Mt. 2:18. (PL 92, 14, 54.)
Seneca C. Velleius Paterculus, Historiae Romanae, lib. 2, c. 66, 2. “abscisaque scelere Antonii vox publica est”. [By Antony’s crime [cutting off Cicero’s head], the public’s voice was cut off too.] Also Lucius Annaeus Seneca, “De Clementia”, lib. 2, 1. “O vocem publica”
Venantius Fortunatus, De vita Sancti Martini, lib. 4, line 416. (PL , 418, 7.) [Christi charismata]