Hippolytus, On Christ and Antichrist

Translation by Andrew S. Jacobs

This early third-century treatise is among the earliest explorations of the Christian end-times focused on the figure of Antichrist. The term "Antichrist" first appeared in the letters ascribed to John (1 John 2:18, 2:22; 1 John 4:2-3; 2 John 1:7) where it refers to people who deny that Jesus is Christ. By the late second century "Antichrist" was understood as a false messiah who was expected to come at the consummation of the world, before Christ's second coming. Various passages from the Old and New Testaments were collected that were now understood to speak to this otherwise unnamed figure; this treatise is one of the first to bring them together in a more or less systematic fashion.

Hippolytus seems to have lived in the late second and early third century and left a significant (although disputed) number of treatises, particularly biblical commentaries. Late ancient authors knew many works ascribed to him, but little about his biography. Eusebius,Church History 6.20  describes him as "leader of a church" (proestōs ekklēsias, προεστὼς ἐκκλησίας) who wrote around the time of Origen (mid-third century), and lists several of his texts available in the library of "Aelia" (Jerusalem). He does not include On Christ and Antichrist. Jerome, On Famous Men 61 likewise describes him as "bishop of some church whose city's name I couldn't find" (cuiusdam ecclesiae episcopus nomen quippe urbis scire non potui), and does list De Antichristo among his writings. Later sources refer to the text as On Christ and Antichrist or On the coming of Christ and Antichrist.

Modern historians have placed Hippolytus in Rome, where he clashed with the Bishop Callistus (218-22) and was ordained as a rival bishop before dying as a martyr under Maximinus Thrax in 235. He is often taken to be the author of a long heresiological treatise known as the Elenchos or Refutation omnium haeresium, although some modern scholars dispute his authorship. Whatever the truth of Hippolytus's biography, the author of this treatise On Christ and Antichrist may be identified with the author of other late-second, early-third century biblical commentaries; the Commentary on Daniel, written in the early third century, explicitly refers back to this treatise.

The author presents to his addressee, Theophilus, a series of "propositions" on Antichrist grounded entirely in a chain of scriptural passages which are harmonized through a particular theological understanding of the end of the world and the culmination of history. Not all of the propositions listed in the opening section are treated as fully as others, which may indicate that the "propositions" did not originate with Hippolytus (perhaps they were posed by Theophilus) or that the treatise was composed with some haste. In addition to relying heavily on and harmonizing the prophetic book of Daniel and the New Testament Revelation to John, Hippolytus draws from Irenaeus's second-century Against Heresies 5, which also comprises a discussion of the end and Antichrist.

I use the Greek text edited by Enrico Norelli (Ippolito: L'Anticristo. De Antichristo [Florence: Nardini, Centro Internazionale del Libro, 1987]). Paragraph and sentence number are Norelli's; section headings and marginal notes are my own.

You may link to, share, or reproduce this translation with attribution. You may not make any commercial use of this work. Any suggestions for corrections or additions to the text or annotations are more than welcome: andrew [at] andrewjacobs [dot] org.

Introduction: A secure resource from the Scriptures

1.1. Since you really wanted to be taught, with accuracy, the topics you proposed to me, my beloved brother Theophilus, I thought it reasonable, once I drew plentifully from the divine Scriptures like from a sacred spring, to furnish the results to you in person; kat' ophthalmon (κατ᾽ ὀφθαλμὸν), literally "before your eyes"; perhaps Hippolytus is referring to the fact that he is presenting a work in writing, rather than merely orally; in any case it is clear Hippolytus wants Theophilus to have a kind of crib sheet that will help him better internalize the lessons of the treatise. The reference to "masses" may indicate that Theophilus is instructing unbaptized Christians. The reference to "resistant" ones might suggest debates with non-Christians. that way you might not only enjoy them by hearing them but, with the ability to investigate these same matters, you could glorify God in all things. Let this be a secure resource from me to you in this present life, so that when you produce them out of ready explanations to those masses for whom they are poorly recognized and grasped, you might implant them in the depth of your heart, as if in rich and clean earth, and then through them confound those who are resistant and opposed to the saving Word. 2. But I do fear that you will supply these things to faithless and blasphemous tongues, for the risk is not trivial. Share them with pious and faithful people, who long to live “in holiness and justice” (1 Thess 2:10) with fear. Not in vain did the blessed apostle instruct Timothy when he wrote: “Timothy, guard the deposit, avoiding the empty profanities and the arguments of falsely-named ‘knowledge’; those who proclaim it have strayed concerning the faith” (1 Tim 6:20-21). And again: “But you, my child, stay strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me through many witnesses, entrust them to faithful people who will be sufficient to teach others, also” (2 Tim 2:1-2). 3. So if the blessed apostle handed over these things with reverence, things which were not familiar to all, foreseeing in the Spirit that “not all have faith” (2 Thess 3:2), how much more shall we be at risk if indiscriminately and at random we share the sayings of God with profane and unworthy men?

2.1. Since the blessed prophets became our eyes, foreseeing through faith the mysteries of the Word, they administered these things to subsequent generations, not only speaking of things in the past but also announcing things in the present and the future. This happened so the prophet would be shown as a prophet not only at the moment but also so he might be considered as a prophet when he was predicting the future to all generations. All of them were equipped with a prophetic spirit and valued as worthy by the Word himself, like instruments attuned to each other, having in them always the Word like a plectrum; moved by it they announced the things God willed. 2. The prophets didn’t speak forth out of their own power—make no mistake!—nor did the proclaim whatever they themselves wanted; but first they were made truly wise through the Word; and then, through visions, they were correctly taught the future beforehand; and then, sent in this way, they spoke the things which had been revealed by God only to them. For what reason would a prophet be described as a prophet unless he foresaw the future by the Spirit? If the prophet said something about something that had already happened, he wouldn’t be a prophet, since he would be talking about things which everyone had seen with their own eyes. But he was judged a prophet because he rightly predicted the future. This is why, reasonably, the prophets from the beginning were called “the seers” (cf. 1 Sam 9:9 LXX). 3. So we too, having correctly learned the things foretold by them, do not speak out of our own imagination. "imagination" is epinoia (ἐπινοίας), meaning conception or idea; the sense is that Hippolytus isn't making anything up. We’re not undertaking to invent anything, but rather providing the written records of those sayings foretold long ago, we bring them to light for those who are able to believe correctly, so that it might be of common benefit to both: on the one hand to the speaker accurately laying out the propositions while mastering them through memory, and on the other to the listener, paying attention to what is being said. Now since a common task is proposed to both—the speaker to expound securely and the listener to accept what is said with a faithful ear—I beseech you also to be joined together with me in supplication to God, 3.1. so that what was revealed long ago to the blessed prophets by the Word of God (now, recall, he is the Son of God, Here, as elsewhere, Hippolytus uses the locution ho tou theou pais (ὁ τοῦ θεοῦ παῖς), rather than the more typical ho huios tou theou (ὁ υἱός τοὺ θεοῦ)who was of old the Word but has now also been made manifest as a person in the world because of us) he might explain them to you through us, those things which you seek to obtain from him through prayer. But since the Word demonstrates his own compassion and impartiality, roaming about through all the saints; dia pantōn hagiōn ho logos phoitōn (διὰ πάντων ἁγίων ὁ λόγος φοιτῶν); the German edition of the text has phuton (φυτὸν) for phoitōn (φοιτῶν), and places it in the next clause which would then read: “harmonizing himself as a creature like a physician…” calibrating himself like a physician experienced in what is good for us, knowing the weakness of humans, he attempts to teach the ignorant while turning those who have strayed back to his own true path; he is readily found by those who seek him with faith and he immediately opens up to those clean bodies and pure hearts desiring to knock at the gate. 2. For he casts away none of those enslaved to him, he abhors no one as if they are not worthy of his divine mysteries:

neither preferring the rich man over the poor nor discounting the poor because of their lowliness;

neither reproaching the barbarian as unwise nor setting aside the eunuch as inhuman;

neither hating the female because of her original disobedience nor shaming the male because of his transgression;


having mercy on all and desiring to save all;

willing to restore all the children of God;

and calling all the saints into one perfect humanity.

For there is one Son of God, through whom we also encounter rebirth through the Holy Spirit, and we all desire to arrive into one perfect and celestial humanity.

4.1. So it is that the Word of God, although fleshless, clothed itself with holy flesh from the holy Virgin, like a bridegroom in his cloak, weaving it for himself in suffering on the cross, so that in uniting our mortal body to his own power, and mixing the corruptible with the incorruptible and weakness with force, he might save the perishing humanity. 2. As in his boat analogy below in chapter 59, Hippolytus here employs specific technical terms in the service of his weaving analogy: beam = histos (ἱστὸς); warp = stēmōn (στήμων); woof = krokē (κρόκη); thread = mitos (μίτος); shuttle = kerkis (κερκὶς). The beam of the Lord is like the suffering which took place on the cross; the warp is the power of the Holy Spirit in him; the woof is like the holy flesh woven into the Spirit; the thread is the grace sealed through Christ’s love and uniting the two into one; the shuttle is the Word; the workers are the patriarchs and prophets who are weaving the lovely, floor-length, perfect garment of Christ, through whom the Word, moving like a shuttle, weaves what the Father wishes through them.

The nature of Antichrist

5.1. But since now the moment is pressing for these propositions, and what has been said in the introduction for God’s glory suffices on its own, it is right for me, taking hold of the divine Scriptures themselves, to show through them: These are apparently the "propositions" (prokeimena [προκείμενα]) Hippolytus has agreed to take up for Theophilus.

What and of what sort is the coming of Antichrist?

On what sort of occasion and in what time will the Lawless one be revealed?

From where and from what tribe, and what is his name, which is declared through the number in Scripture?   666 (Rev 13:18), which Hippolytus discusses in chapter 50

How will he engender error in the people, assembling them from the corners of the world, and rouse up tribulation and persecution against the saints?

And how will he glorify himself as God?

What is his consummation?

How will the manifestation of the Lord be revealed from the heavens?

And what is the conflagration of the universe?

What is the glorious and celestial kingdom of the saints who will reign together with Christ?

And what is the eternal punishment through fire of the lawless ones?

Christ and Antichrist in parallel

6.1. Now insofar as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Here Hippolytus uses the more common tou hiou tou theou (τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ) formulation.was proclaimed beforehand as a lion (Gen 49:9) because he is regal and glorious, in the same way also the Scriptures have prophesied Antichrist similarly as a lion because he is tyrannical and brutal. In every way the Deceiver wants to become like the Son of God. Christ is a lion, so Antichrist is a lion. Christ is a King, so Antichrist is an earthly King. The Savior was shown to be a lamb, so also similarly he will appear like a lamb while being a wolf inside. The Savior came into the world circumcised, so he will come similarly. 2. The Lord sent the apostles into all the nations, so he will similarly send false apostles. The Savior assembled the sheep which had been scattered, so he similarly will gather up the scattered people. The Lord granted a seal to those who believe in him, so he will grant similarly. The Lord was manifest in the form of a human, so he will come in the form of a human. The Savior rose and demonstrated his own flesh as a temple, so he will raise up in Jerusalem a temple in stone. And we shall clarify these deceitful tricks of his later on; let us turn to the proposition at hand.

Jacob’s benediction

7.1 The blessed Jacob says in the benedictions, prophesying in advance on matters concerning our Lord and Savior like this: “Judah, may your brother praise you; your hands are upon the back of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down before you. A lion’s cub is Judah; from a shoot you have risen up, my son; reclining you have fallen asleep like a lion and like a cub. Who will rouse him? A leader will not fail from Judah nor a ruler from his loins until the one comes for whom it is set aside, and he will be the expectation of nations. Binding his donkey to a vine and the colt of his donkey to the tendril, he will wash his robe in wine and his cloak in grape’s blood. His eyes are merry from wine, and his teeth are gleaming like milk” (Gen 49:8-12).

8.1. It seems now appropriate to cite these things to you, even though you already know how to explain them. But since these same phrases exhort us to speak, we shall not neglect it. For they are truly divine and glorious, with the ability to help a soul. When he said “a lion’s cub” the prophet meant the Son of God who is from Judah and David according to the flesh. By saying “from a shoot you have risen up, my son” he showed the fruit shooting forth from the holy Virgin, not begotten from seed, but conceived from the Holy Spirit, and so he comes forth like a holy shoot from the ground. 2. Now Isaiah says: “A rod will go out from the root of Jesse, and a flower will rise up from it” (Isa 11:1). The “flower” spoken of by Isaiah is the “shoot” Jacob has spoken of; for first the Word shot forth in the womb and then it flowered in the world. Saying “reclining you have fallen asleep, like a lion and like a cub” indicated the three-day sleep koimēsis (κοίμησις)of Christ, as also Isaiah says: “How has the faithful city become a prostitute, Zion full of judgment? In her in whom righteousness slept, now there are murderers” (Isa 1:21). 3. And David likewise: “I lay down and slept, and I awoke, because the Lord will assist me” (Ps 3:6), so he might show in this phrase the sleeping and the resurrection that took place at that time. Jacob says: “Who will rouse him?” That is the Father, just as also Paul says: “and God the Father who raised him from the dead” (Gal 1:1).

9. Saying “there will not be a leader out of Judah nor a ruler from his loins until the one comes for whom it is set aside, and he will be the expectation of nations” indicated that the course of the royal descent from Judah would be fulfilled under Christ. For he is the “expectation of” we who are the “nations”; for we expect him to be coming from the heavens in power; we see him already through faith.

10. “Binding his donkey to a vine”: that is, [binding] the people from circumcision to his own calling. For he was the vine. “And the colt of his donkey to the tendril”: uniting to him the people from the nations, like a young colt, as he was calling circumcision and uncircumcision into a single faith.

11. “He will wash his robe in wine”: the paternal grace of the Holy Spirit coming down upon him in the Jordan. “And in grape’s blood his cloak”: in the blood of what sort of grape except that of his holy flesh, crushed on the wood like a bunch of grapes? From its side two wells gushed forth, of blood and of water (cf. John 19:34), through which the nations, being washed, are purified: they have been reckoned to Christ like a cloak.

12. “His eyes are merry from wine.” What are the eyes of Christ but the blessed prophets, who foresaw in the spirit and proclaimed beforehand the sufferings that would befall him, who were able to rejoice when they looked upon him with spiritual eyes, eternally strengthened by his Word and his grace?

13. And saying “and his teeth are gleaming like milk” signified the commandments proceeding forth out of Christ’s holy mouth, which are as pure as milk.

Antichrist’s tribe and coming

14.1. Now since the Scriptures prophesied Christ as lion and lion’s cub, a similar thing is said about Antichrist. For Moses says in this way: “Dan is a lion’s cub and he will leap out of Bashan” (Deut 33:22). But so that no one might make a mistake, supposing that this phrase was said about the Savior, let him pay close attention! He says “Dan is a lion’s cub”; in naming the tribe, that of Dan, he explained the proposition, from which [tribe] Antichrist is going to be born. 2. For just as the Savior has been born out of the tribe of Judah, so also Antichrist will be born out of the tribe of Dan. That this is the case, what does Jacob say? “Let Dan be a snake, lying on the road, biting the horse’s heel” (Gen 49:17). What else is the serpent but the Deceiver from the beginning, who is spoken of in Genesis, the one who deceived Eve and tripped up Adam? "tripped up" = pternisas (πτερνίσας), from "heel," pterna (πτέρνα) in the Gen 49:17 passage.But since we must prove the proposition through many more witnesses, let us not dawdle!

15.1. That the tyrant, the king, the fearsome judge, the Devil’s son is really is going to be born and rise up out of the tribe of Dan the prophet says: “Dan will judge his own people, just as also a single tribe in Israel” (Gen 49:16). But someone will say: This has been said about Samson, who was born out of the tribe of Dan and judged the people for twenty years (cf. Jud 16:31). Part of this has happened under Samson, but the entire thing will be fulfilled under Antichrist. For also Jeremiah says this: “Speedily out of Dan we shall hear the swiftness of his horses, from the thundering sound of his cavalry of horses all the earth was shaken” (Jer 8:16). 2. And another prophet says: “He will gather all of his power from the East to the West; those whom he had called and those whom he had not called will go forth with him. He will brighten the sea with the sails of his ships and darken the field with shields and weapons. And everyone who meets him in battle will fall by the sword. This citation from "another prophet," which also appears below in chapter 54, is otherwise unknown. That these things have not been said about another but about the tyrant and shameless one, we shall show in what follows.

16.1. For Isaiah says it in this way: “And it will be when the Lord consummates everything he’s doing on Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will set upon the great mind, upon the leader of the Assyrians, and the haughty glory of his eyes. For he said: In might I shall do it and in the wisdom of understanding I shall remove the boundaries of nations and I shall plunder their might. And I shall shake inhabited cities and I shall take hold of the whole world in my hand like a nest and like abandoned eggs I shall lift it up. And there is no one who will escape from me or resist me. 2. And not in this way? But Adonai the Lord will send dishonor against your honor and a burning fire will be ignited against your glory. And the light of Israel is for fire and it will purify him in flame and it will consume the forest like grass” (Isa 10:12-17).

17.1. And again in another passage he says: “How has the inquisitor ceased and how has the taskmaster ceased? God broke the yoke of the rulers. In anger inflicting the nation with an incurable plague, smiting the nation with an angry plague, with which he was not sparing. In confidence he has ceased. All the land cries out with joy. The trees of Lebanon rejoiced at you and the cedar of Lebanon: Since you went to sleep no one has risen up to cut us down. Death Haidēs (ᾅδης) is the place of Death, here capitalized.down below was made bitter when he encountered you, all the giants rose up together to you, the leaders of the earth, they are stirring from their thrones all the kings of nations. They will all reply and say to you: You too have been caught, just like us, and you have been reckoned among us. 2. Your glory has descended into Death, your great rejoicing; they will spread rot beneath you, and the worm is your blanket. How has the Morningstar fallen from heaven, who was rising yesterday? He was crushed into the ground, who was dispatching to all the nations. In your mind you said: I shall ascend into heaven, I shall place my throne above the stars of the heaven, I shall sit on the high mount which is above the high mountains to the north, I shall ascend above the clouds, I shall be like the Highest One. But now you will be cast down into Death and into the foundations of the earth. Those who see you will be amazed at you and they will say: He is the person who made the earth shudder, who shook kings, who made the whole world into wilderness, and he razed the cities, he didn’t release those in captivity. 3. All the kings of the nations fell asleep in honor, each in his own house; but you will be cast out into the hills, like an abominable corpse, with many who have fallen, who have been pierced by a sword, who have gone down into Death. In the same way a cloak defiled by blood will not be clean, so you will not be clean, because you destroyed my land and slew my people. You will not remain forever, an evil seed. Prepare your children to be slaughtered for the sins of your father, so that they will not rise up and inherit the land” (Isa 14:4-21).

18.1. Similarly Ezekiel speaks about him in this way: “The Lord God says this: Because your heart has been exalted and you have said: ‘I am God, I have inhabited God’s dwelling-place in the heart of a sea’; but you are human and not God, and you have treated your heart as if it were God’s heart; are you wiser than Daniel? Wise ones have not instructed you in their knowledge. Is it by your wisdom or your understanding that you gave yourself power, and gold and silver in your treasuries? Or by your great knowledge and commerce have you increased your power? Your heart has been exalted in your power. 2. This is why the Lord God says this: Since you treated your heart as if it were God’s heart, for this, behold, I bring down upon you strange pestilences from the nations, and they will unsheathe their swords against you and against the beauty of your knowledge, and they will raze your beauty into destruction, and they will degrade you, and you will be put to death, wounded in the heart of the sea. Will you not speak, saying: ‘I am God’ before those who are destroying you? But you are a human, and not God. In the throng of uncircumcised you will perish by foreign hands, because I have spoken, says the Lord” (Ezek 28:2-10).

Daniel’s Visions of Antichrist and Christ (Four Kingdoms)

19.1. Now that these passages having been explained, let us look more closely at what Daniel said in his visions. For when he was distinguishing the kingdoms that would come to be afterward, he showed also the coming of Antichrist in the end times and the consummation of the whole world. So he says when interpreting the visions of Nebuchadnezzar: “King, you looked and behold a great image stood before your presence; its head was of valuable gold, its arms and shoulders of silver, its torso and thighs of bronze, its calves of iron, its feet made of one part iron and another part clay. 2. You looked until a stone was cut without hands and struck the image in its iron-and-clay feet and it shattered them completely. Then at once the clay, the iron, the bronze, the silver, the gold were shattered, and were like dust on a summer’s threshing floor. And the mighty wind took them away and no place was found for them. And the stone striking the image became a great hill and filled the whole earth” (Dan 2:33-35).

20.1. Now when we combine Daniel’s visions with this other one we produce a single account out of both, showing how there might be harmony and truth. For he says it like this: “I, Daniel, looked and behold the four winds of the heaven crashed into the great sea, and four great beasts rose up out of the sea, different from each other. The first was like a lioness and its wings were like eagle’s; I looked until its wings were plucked; it was raised up from the earth and stood on its feet like a human, and a human heart was given to it. And behold a second beast similar to a bear, and it was stood on one side and it had three ribs in its mouth.  2. I looked and, behold, another beast like a leopard; and it had four bird’s wings above it and the beast had four heads. I looked behind it and behold a fourth beast, fearsome and terrible and exceedingly mighty, its teeth were iron and its claws were brass, chomping and shredding, and it was stomping on the remains with its feet. And it was exceedingly different from all the beasts that preceded it, and it had ten horns. I was contemplating its horns and behold another, small horn rose up in their midst and it ripped out the three horns that preceded it from its presence; and behold eyes like a human’s were on this horn and a mouth uttering boasts. 21. I looked until thrones were set up and the Ancient of Days was sitting and his cloak was like gleaming snow and the hair of his head was like pure wool; his throne was a flame of fire, with wheels of blazing fire. A river of fire flowed before him, thousands of thousands worshiped him and myriads of myriads stood around him. He sat in the judgment seat and books were opened. I looked then from the sound of the boastful words which that horn was uttering, until the beast was destroyed and killed and its mouth was given into burning fire. And the rule of the remaining beasts was transferred. 22. I looked in a night-time vision and behold with the clouds of heaven came one like the Son of Man and he arrived unto the Ancient of Days and he approached him. And the rule was given to him and the honor and the kingdom and all the peoples, tribes, and tongues will be enslaved to him. His authority is eternal authority, which does not go away, and his kingdom will not pass away” (Dan 7:2-14).

23.1. Now since these things, spoken mystically, seem to some difficult to understand, we shall conceal nothing about them that leads to comprehension for those who possess a sound mind. When it said “a lioness rising from the sea” it meant the kingdom of the Babylonians coming into the world, which was the golden head of the image; “its wings were like eagle’s” because King Nebuchadnezzar was exalted and elevated against God. 2. Then, he says, “its wings were plucked,” because his glory was diminished: for he was driven out of his kingdom. “A human heart was given to it and it was stood on human feet” because he repented, recognizing about himself that he was a human and he gave glory to God.

24.1. After the lioness he sees “a second beast” which is “similar to a bear,” which was the Persians. After the Babylonians the Persians governed. “Three ribs in its mouth” pointed to three nations: the Persians, Medes, and Babylonians, which is shown by the silver after the gold on the image. Then the third beast is a leopard, which was the Greeks. After the Persians Alexander the Macedonian governed, deposing Darius, which is shown by the bronze on the statue. 2. “Four bird’s wings” and “four heads” on the beast showed very clearly how Alexander’s empire was divided into four parts: saying “four heads” disclosed the four kings who rose up out of it. For when Alexander died his empire was separated into four parts.

25.1. Then, he says, “a fourth beast, fearsome and terrible… its teeth were iron and its claws were brass.” Who are these but the Romans? The iron is the empire which presently exists. For he says: “its calves were of iron.” For after this what else remains, beloved, but the feet of the image, in which “part was of iron and another part was of clay, mixed into each other.” 2. He indicated in a mystical way through the toes of the feet ten kings rising up from it, about which Daniel says: “I was contemplating the beast and behold ten horns were on its back among which another, small horn will rise up like a shoot and it will root out the three horns before it.” What else is shown by this than Antichrist when he rises up, who will also be the one who resurrects the kingdom of the Jews? 3. The three horns which he says will be uprooted by him shows the three kings of Egypt, the Libyans, and the Ethiopians, whom he will destroy in the thick of battle; when he rules over all, and is a fearsome and cruel tyrant, he will cause tribulation and persecution against the saints, roused against them. For Daniel says: “I contemplated the horn and behold that horn did battle with the saints and was prevailing over them” (Dan 7:21) until “the beast was destroyed and killed and its mouth was given into burning fire” (Dan 7:11).

26.1. After this he will come from heaven, “the stone which strikes the image” and shatters it and transfers all the kingdoms and grants the kingdom to the saints of the Most High. He is the one “who has become a great hill and fills all the earth” (Dan 2:35), about whom Daniel says: “I looked in a night-time vision and behold with the clouds of heaven came one like the Son of Man and he arrived unto the Ancient of Days. And the rule was given to him and the honor and the kingdom and all the peoples, tribes, and tongues will be enslaved to him. His authority is eternal authority, which does not go away, and his kingdom will not pass away.” 2. He shows the full authority which was given from the Father to the Son, who has been proven to be king and judge of all those “in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Phil 2:10): “in heaven,” because the Word had been begotten out of the Father’s heart before all things; “on earth,” because he was begotten as a human among humans, remolding Adam through himself; “under the earth,” because he was accounted among the dead, bringing the good news to the souls of the saints, conquering death through death.

27. Since these are the things that will happen—with the ten toes of the image proceeding into democracies It's not entirely clear what Hippolytus means by "democracies" here; Norelli hypothesizes that he envisions a period when the singular power of the Roman monarchy has been divided up into smaller, local "popular rules" (dēmokratias [δημοκρατίας]) in the period immediately preceding the autocratic rise of Antichrist. and the ten horns of the beast being apportioned into ten kings—let us look more clearly at the propositions and let us reflect upon them in a clear-eyed fashion.

28. The gold head of the image, the lioness, was the Babylonians; the silver arms and shoulders, the bear, the Persians and Medes; the brass torso and thighs, the leopard, the Greeks ruling after Alexander; the iron calves, the fearsome and terrible beast, the Romans who rule now; the soles of the feet of clay and iron, the ten horns, which will come in the future; the other small horn springing up among them is Antichrist; the stone striking the image and shattering it, filling the earth, is Christ coming from heaven and bringing judgment upon the earth.

God’s punishment against the prostitute

29.1. Beloved, with trepidation Literally, “with fear”: meta phobou, μετὰ φόβου do we fulsomely share these things with you “because of Christ’s surpassing love” (Eph 3:19). For if the blessed prophets who existed before us, having seen these things, did not wish to proclaim them openly, parrēsiai (παρρησίᾳ), literally "in frank speech"; Hippolytus means that the prophets spoke in symbols and parables rather than frankly and openly.for fear they would engender disturbance in human souls, but they recounted them mystically through parables and puzzles, saying “here is the mind possessing wisdom” (Rev 17:9), how much more danger do we risk when we dare to bring the things said by them in a concealed fashion out into the open? 2. Let us see then what will happen at the end to that impure prostitute, of what manner and of what kind will be the special torture that will come upon her before the judgment according to God’s wrath.

30.1. Come then, blessed Isaiah, awaken! Say clearly what you prophesied about the great city of Babylon. You spoke also about Jerusalem and she has been met her end. For you said openly: In contrast to his comment above, here Hippolytus praises Isaiah for speaking "with parrēsia" (μετὰ παρρησίας).May your land be desolate, your cities burned up; foreigners are consuming your land before you; overthrown, it has been devastated by many foreigners. The daughter of Zion will be forsaken, like a tent in a vineyard and like a shed in a vegetable patch, Literally, "cucumber field," sikuēratōi (σικυηράτῳ); the image seems to be of temporary agricultural shelters left behind after a harvest. like a city besieged” (Isa 1:7-8). 2. How about it? Hasn’t this already come to pass? Haven’t these statements been fulfilled? Hasn’t their land of Judea been devastated? Hasn’t the Temple been burned down? Haven’t the walls been overthrown? Haven’t the cities been razed? Aren’t foreigners consuming the land? Don’t the Romans rule their land? But the lawless ones who hated you sawed you apart. Hippolytus refers to noncanonical traditions that several of the prophets were murdered (or, in his understanding, martyred) by ancient Israelites. (See the general reference in Matt 13:29-35.) Isaiah's execution by sawing is referenced in the Ascencion of Isaiah and the Vitae Prophetarum. Jeremiah's death by stoning is likewise noted in the Vitae Prophetarum. Heb 11:37, "They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two," may also refer to these prophetic martyrdoms. They also crucified Christ. You died in the world but you live with Christ.

31.1. Whom among all of you shall I love more than you? The first “you,” referring to all the prophets, is plural; the second “you,” referring to Isaiah, is singular.Now Jeremiah is also stoned to death. So then Jeremiah? But Daniel also bears witness. marturei (μαρτυρεῖ), "bear witness" could, in context, mean that Hippolytus is saying that Daniel, like Isaiah and Jeremiah, was a martyr. There is no tradition of Daniel's martyrdom, however, and Hippolytus likewise does not suggest that John, the next prophet, died a martyr. Daniel, shall I praise you above all? But John does not lie! With how many mouths and tongues shall I glorify you all—or, rather, the Word speaking in you. For you died with Christ, but you will live in God. Listen and rejoice! Behold, the things which have been spoken by you have been fulfilled in their time. 2. For you saw these things first, then in this way you proclaimed God’s sayings to all generations, you ministered to all generations. You were called “prophets” so you could save everyone. That’s when a prophet really becomes a prophet, when by proclaiming in advance what’s going to happen, he shows these things occurring later. You all became students of the Good Teacher. I exclaim these things to you deservedly, as if you were living: for you already possess the crown of life and incorruption, laid up for you in the heavens.

32.1. Speak to me, blessed Daniel, reassure me, I beseech you! You prophesy about the lioness in Babylon; for you were a prisoner there. You have explained the future about the bear; for you were still in the world and you saw these things happen. Then you’re speaking about the leopard: and how do you know about this? For you had already fallen asleep. i.e., died Who else taught you these things in advance but the one who formed you in your mother’s womb, the Word of God? 2. For you spoke and you didn’t lie. The leopard rose up and the he-goat of the goats came, he struck the ram, he shattered his horns, and he trampled him underfoot, he conquered, he was exalted. When he fell the four horns rose up from beneath him. Rejoice, blessed Daniel, you have not been mistaken, all of these things have come to pass! This vision is from Daniel 8, which Hippolytus had not referred to earlier.

33. After this once more you explained to me: “A fourth beast, fearsome and terrible, its teeth were iron and its claws were brass, chomping and shredding, and it was stomping on the remains with its feet” (Dan 7:7). Behold now “the iron” rules, behold “it subdues and it shreds” (Dan 2:40), behold it subjects all against their will, behold we observe these very things, behold we glorify God, we who have been taught by you!

34. Now since it has been proposed to us to speak about the prostitute: come forth, blessed Isaiah! Let us see what you say about Babylon. “Go down, sit upon the ground, virgin daughter of Babylon, sit, daughter of Chaldeans; no longer will you continue to be called ‘tender’ or ‘gentle.’ Take the millstone, grind the grain, lift back your veil, expose your gray hair, uncover your legs, cross rivers. Your dishonor will be revealed, your reproaches will be manifest. I shall take the right from you, I shall no longer hand you over to people. The Lord Sabaoth who redeemed you, his name is the Holy One of Israel. Sit, stunned, enter into the darkness, daughter of Chaldeans, no longer will you be called the force of the kingdom. 35. 1. I was provoked against my people, you defiled my inheritance. I gave them into your hand but you did not give them mercy; you made the yoke of the elderly exceedingly heavy, and you said: I shall rule forever. You did not consider these things in your heart, nor did you recall the last things. But hear them now, Gentle One, confidently sitting, saying to yourself: ‘I am, and there is no other, I shall not sit as a widow, I shall not know bereavement.’ 2. Now these two things will come upon you in a single day, widowhood and childlessness will come upon you suddenly in your alchemy, pharmakeia (φαρμακείᾳ), literally "pharmacy," here indicating sorcery or witchcraft. excessively in the force of your enchantments, in the hope of your fornication. For you have said: ‘I am, and there is no other,’ and your fornication will be your dishonor because you said to yourself: ‘I am.’ And destruction will come upon you and you will not know it; a pit, and you will fall into it. And hardship will come upon you and you will not be able to become pure. And it will come upon you suddenly, and you will not know it. Stand now among your enchantments and your great alchemy, which you learned from your youth, if you can be helped. 3. You have toiled in your counsels; let your celestial astronomers stand and save you, let your stargazers report to you what’s going to come upon you. See! They will all be burned up like kindling on a fire, and their lives will not be delivered from the flame; since you have coals from fire, sit on them and so that will be your help! You toiled in transformation from your youth; a person went astray on his own, but there will be no salvation for you” (Isa 47:1-15). Isaiah prophesies these things, but let’s see if John uttered things similar to him.

36.1. When he is on the island of Patmos he sees a revelation of horrible mysteries, and by fulsomely recounting them he also teaches others. Tell me, blessed John, apostle and disciple of the Lord, what you saw and what you heard about Babylon. Wake up and speak, for she also exiled you. "Babylon" in Revelation serves as a code for Rome. Hippolytus is an early witness for the idea that John was on Patmos because he had been sent there by the Romans in exile (see Tertullian, Prescription Against Heretics 36; Victorinus of Pettau, On the Apocalypse 10.3; Eusebius, Church History 3.18.1-3).And one of the seven angels holding the seven vials came and he spoke with me, saying: Come, I’ll show you the judgment of the great prostitute who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have fornicated, and those inhabiting the earth have grown drunk from the wine of her fornication. 2. And he carried me off into the wilderness in the spirit and I saw a woman seated on a red beast, full of the names; it had seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was draped in purple and red, gilded in gold and precious stone and pearls, holding a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and the impurities of the fornication of the earth, and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery: ‘Babylon the great, the mother of prostitutes and abominations of the earth.’ 37. And I saw the woman drunk on the blood of the saints and out of the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, and I was amazed, looking at her, a great wonder. And the angel said to me: Why are you amazed? I shall tell you the mystery of the woman and the beast bearing her, which has seven head and ten horns. The beast that you see was and is not and is going to rise up from the pit and he goes away into destruction. And those inhabiting the earth will be amazed, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was and is not and will be present. 38.1. Here, the mind possessing wisdom! The seven heads are the seven hills upon which the woman sits, and they are seven kings. Five have fallen, one exists, another has not yet come and when he comes it is necessary that he remain for a little while. And the beast who was and is not, he is also the eighth and he is out of the seven and he goes away into destruction. 2. And the ten horns which you saw, they are ten kings who have not yet taken the kingdom but they receive authority like kings for a single hour with the beast. They have a single intention "intention" throughout this passage is gnōmē (γνώμη), which refers to internal orientation: opinion, goal, purpose. and they give their power and authority to the beast. They will wage war with the lamb and the lamb will conquer them, because he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful. 39. And he says to me: The waters which you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples and crowds and nations and tongues. And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, will hate the prostitute and they will make her desolate and naked and they will eat her flesh and they will burn her in fire. For God has given into their hearts to carry out his intention and to make a single intention and to give their kingdom to the beast until the words of God will be accomplished. And the woman whom you saw is the great city which possesses the kingdom over the kings of the earth. 40. After this I saw another angel descending from heaven, possessing great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his glory. And he cried out in a great, forceful voice, saying: She has fallen, Babylon the great has fallen and she has become the dwelling-place of demons and the prison of every unclean and defiled spirit and the prison of every unclean and defiled beast, because out of the wrath of the wine of her fornication all the nations have fallen, and the kings of the earth fornicated with her and the merchants of the earth grew rich out of the power of her luxury. And I heard another voice from the heavens saying: Come out of her, my people, so you will not be associated with her sins, and so you won’t receive a portion of her plagues, because her sins have been collected unto heaven and God has remembered her injustices. 41.1. Render to her just as she has rendered, and pay back twofold according to her deeds; in the cup in which she mixed you mix for her twofold; as much as she glorified herself and luxuriated, you give her as much torture and grief. Because she said to herself: because I sit as queen and I am not a widow and may I see no grief, because of this on a single day all her plagues will come: death and grief and famine, and she will be burned up in fire. Because the Lord Almighty is the one judging her. 2. And the kings of the earth who were fornicating with her and luxuriating will wail and mourn for her when they see the smoke from her burning, standing at a distance because of fear of her torment, saying: Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon the mighty city, that in a single hour your judgment has come! And the merchants of the earth will wail and grieve over her, because no one buys their wares any longer, wares of gold and silver and precious stone and pearls and linen and silk and purple and red, and all the citron wood and every ivory vessel and every vessel out of most precious wood and brass and iron and marble and cinnamon and incense and myrrh and cedar and wine and oil and wheat and grain and mounts and flocks and horses and chariots and bodies and human lives; and the fruit of your soul’s desire has gone away from you, and all the comforts and joys have been destroyed from you and no longer may you find them. 3. Your merchants, who grew rich from her, will stand at a distance because of fear of her torture, wailing and grieving and saying: Woe, woe, the great city, draped in linen and red and purple, and gilded with gold and precious stone and pearl, that in a single hour such wealth has been made desolate! 4. And every ship-captain and everyone on the boats and sailors and as many as worked on the sea, from a distance they stood and cried out when they saw the smoke from her burning, saying: Who is like this great city? And they threw dust on their heads and they cried out, wailing and grieving, saying: Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships on the sea grew rich from her expense, that in a single hour she has been made desolate! 42. Rejoice over her, heaven, and the saints and apostles and prophets, because God has rendered your judgment over her. And one mighty angel raised up a stone like a great millstone and he cast it into the sea, saying: So in violence Babylon the great city will be cast down, and it will no longer be found. And the sound of harpists and musicians and pipers and trumpeters will not be heard in you, and every artists of every art will not be found in you, and the sound of a millstone will not be heard in you and the light of a lamp will not be visible in you and the sound of a bridegroom and the sound of a bride will not be heard in you, because your merchants were the great men of the earth, because in your alchemy all the nations were deceived, and in her the blood of prophets and saints was found and of all those slaughtered upon the earth” (Rev 17:1-18:24).

The chronology of Antichrist

43.1. As for the tortures and the special judgment which will come upon her in the end times from the tyrants who will then exist, very clearly have these things been indicated in these passages. But it is necessary for us, as we inquire precisely into the chronology, to lay out on what occasions these things will happen and how the small horn will spring up among them. When the iron legs have prevailed over the soles of the feet and the toes, proceeding according to the manifestation of the image and the appearance of the fearsome beast, just as they have been explained in what came before, on what occasions are the iron and the clay mixed together into the same thing? 2. Daniel will show us the propositions. For he says: “And a single week will make a covenant with many. And it will be in the midst of the week my sacrifice and drink-offering will be suspended” (Dan 9:27). When he said a single week he meant the last one [week] which will come upon the end-point of the whole world at the end-times; of this week the two prophets Enoch and Elijah will receive half. For they will preach “one thousand two hundred and sixty days, draped in sack-cloth” (Rev 11:3), proclaiming repentance to the people and to all the nations.

44.1. For just as two appearances of our Lord and Savior have been shown to us through the Scriptures—the first one happening according to the flesh, dishonored because he was despised, just as Isaiah predicted when he said: “We saw him, and he did not possess a fair form but his form is dishonored and inferior among all people; being a man in distress and knowing how to bear weakness, he was dishonored and discounted” (Isa 53:2-3); but his second coming has been preached in glory, as he will come from the heaven with the power of angels and his father’s glory, as the prophet says “you will look upon the king with glory” (Isa 33:17) and “they saw upon the clouds of heaven one coming like the Son of Man, and he arrived unto the Ancient of Days and he approached him. And the rule and the honor and the glory and the kingdom were given to him and all peoples, tribes, tongues were enslaved to him. His kingdom is an eternal kingdom, which will not pass away” (Dan 7:13-14). 2. So also two forerunners have been shown: the first one was John the son of Zechariah, in every way he was the forerunner and herald of our Savior; he gave the good news to all of the heavenly light visible in the world; for he came ahead in his mother’s womb, first conceived by Elizabeth in order to show to those infants still abiding in their mothers’ wombs the new genesis that would come to them through the Holy Spirit and a virgin.

45. When he “heard Mary’s greeting he leapt in his mother’s womb, exulting” (Luke 1:41), observing the Word of God conceived in a virgin’s womb. Then, “preaching in the desert” he appeared proclaiming the “baptism of repentance” (Mark 1:4) to the people, foretelling salvation to the nations dwelling in the desert of the world; afterward in the Jordan, upon seeing him he points out the Savior and says: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He also went first to preach the good news to those in Death, after he was killed by Herod: he was a forerunner there, indicating that the Savior was going to come down to there, redeeming the souls of the saints in death’s grip.

46.1. But since the Savior was the first-fruit of the resurrection of all people, it was necessary for the Lord alone to rise from the dead, through whom also the judgment will come against the whole world, in order that those who struggled worthily might also be worthily crowned by him, by the noble judge of games, kalou agōnothetou (καλοῦ ἀγωνοθέτου); referee the first to have won the race, who was received into the heavens and seated at the right hand of God and the Father, and who once more will be visible as the judge at the consummation of the world. 2. It is absolutely necessary for his forerunners to appear first, just as he says through Malachi the messenger: “I shall send you Elijah the Tishbite before the great day of the Lord comes and before he appears, who will restore the hearts of fathers to their children and the disobedient ones in the prudence of the just, so that when I come I shall not smite the earth utterly” (Mal 3:22-23). So they who are present will preach the future appearance which is coming from heaven, and they will perform signs and wonders for shaming and turning people to repentance because of their excessive transgression and impiety.

47.1. John says: “And I shall give my two witnesses and they will prophecy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, draped in sack-cloth”—that is, the half-week about which Daniel spoke—“they are the two olive trees and the two lamps which stand before the Lord of the earth: and if someone should wish to harm them, fire will proceed out of their mouths and consume their enemies. And if someone wishes to harm them, so he must be killed. They have the authority to close the heaven so that no rain will fall during the days of their prophecy and they have the authority over the waters, to turn them into blood and to smite the earth with every plague as often as they wish. 2. And when they finish their race and their witness” what does the prophet say? “The beast, which is rising out of the pit, will wage war with them and he will defeat them and kill them” (Rev 11:3-7), because they are unwilling to grant glory to Antichrist (that is, the little horn which has sprung up) who, having been puffed up in his heart, begins to exalt himself and glorify himself as God, persecuting the saints and blaspheming against Christ, just as Daniel says: “I was considering the horn and behold eyes like a person’s on the horn and a mouth uttering boasts” (Dan 7:8) and he opened his mouth for blasphemy toward God” (Rev 13:6) “and that horn waged war with the saints and prevailed against them, until the beast was removed and destroyed and his body was given over to burning of fire” (Dan 7:21).

Antichrist’s name and number

48.1. But since it is necessary to recount most carefully about him—how the Holy Spirit indicated his name mystically through a number—we shall recount these things very clearly about him. For John says it like this: “And I saw another beast rising up out of the earth and it had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. And it produced all authority of the first beast on his behalf. 2. And it makes the earth and all those dwelling in it bow down to the first beast, whose death blow was healed. And it makes great signs so that it might make fire come down from heaven onto the earth before humans and it deceives those dwelling on the earth through the signs which were given to it to make on behalf of the beast, telling those dwelling on the earth to make an image of the beast, which had the sword-blow and lived. And it was granted to it to give breath to the image of the beast so that the image of the beast might speak and it might cause as many to die as would not bow down before the image of the beast. 3. And he causes all, small and great and rich and poor and free and enslaved, that he might give to them the mark on their right hand or on their forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless they had the mark, the name of the beast or the number of his name. There is wisdom here! Let the one possessing understanding calculate the number of the beast: for the number is a person’s. And his number is 666” (Rev 13:11-18).

49.1. Now the “beast rising up out of the earth” means the kingdom of Antichrist that will be and the “two horns” are the false prophet with him. To say “two horns like a lamb” means that he wants to be equated with the Son of God and he presents himself as a king. To say “he spoke like a dragon” means that he is a deceiver and not truthful. 2. “And he made all the authority of the first beast and makes the earth and all those dwelling on it bow down to the first beast, whose death blow was healed” means that, according to the law of Augustus, from which the Roman Empire was constituted, so too will he command and bring order, deciding all things, and through this he will acquire greater glory for himself. For this is the fourth beast, whose head was wounded and once more was healed—because it was demolished and dishonored and broken up into ten crowns and then, since he is clever, as it were, he will heal it and reunite it. Hippolytus seems to imagine a Rome-style empire reconstituted out of the ten "democracies" (see above, Chapter 17) by Antichrist, perhaps even a New Rome. 3. For this is what was said by the prophet, that “he will give breath to the image and the image of the beast will speak”: for he will be effective and capable once more through the laws determined by him, and he will put to death as many as will not bow down to the image of the beast. “Here the faith and the endurance of the saints” will be clear (Rev 13:10). For he says: “and it causes all, small and great and rich and poor and free and enslaved, that he might give them the mark on their right hand or on their forehead, so that no one will be able to buy or sell unless they have the mark or the number of his name.” 4. Now since he is wily and puffed up against those enslaved to God, wanting to afflict them sorely and persecute them out of the world because they won’t grant him glory, he commands everyone everywhere to set up censers, so that no one of the saints will be able to buy or sell unless they first offer sacrifice. For this is “the mark given on the right hand.” He says “on the forehead” because all will be crowned, wearing among themselves a fiery crown not of life but of death. 5. For this is what Antiochus Epiphanes devised against the Jews, when he, who was of Alexander of Macedon’s lineage, became King of Syria. For he too in those times then, puffed up in his heart, wrote a decree that altars should be set up before the gates for all to sacrifice, and that they should process for Dionysus, crowned with ivy; and those who didn’t want to do it would be subjected and they would be destroyed with sacrificial meat-eating and trials and tortures (cf. 2 Macc 6-7). But he received the same in return from the Lord and righteous Judge and all-observant God, a similar torture: for he gave up his life being eaten away by worms. That is, the punishment of forcing impure food on Jews was inverted by Antiochus’s insides being eaten out.And if someone should wish to examine these things more carefully, they have been explained in the [books of] Maccabees.

50.1. But now we shall speak to the proposition. These things he is also devising in this way, in his desire to afflict the saints in all things. For the prophet and apostle says: “Here there is understanding. Let the one having wisdom calculate the number of the beast: for it is a person’s number, and his number is 666.” About his name it’s not possible for us to expound precisely, in the way the blessed John understood and was taught about it, but only in supposition: for when he appears, the occasion will show the answer. 2. But as much as we understand, even shakily, let us say. For we find many names equaling this number, for example, let us say, there is Titan, These three names, whose letters add up to 666 based on the value of the Greek letters as numbers, appear in Irenaeus, Adversus haereses 5.30.3. "Titan"/τειταν: τ=300; ε=5; ι=10; α=1; τ=300;  ν=50. This name seems to be Irenaeus's favorite. an ancient and noble name; or Euanthas. "Euanthas"/Εὐάνθας: ε=5; α=1; ν=50; υ=400; θ=9; α=1; σ=200. This name is usually spelled Euanthēs; in the early 20th century, F. H. Colson speculated this unusual name was an attempt to come up with a Greek equivalent of Florus that equaled 666. For this also is equal to that number, and a great many others can be found. 3. But since we were already saying that the first beast’s wound was healed and he will make the image speak, that is he has prevailed, and it is manifest to all that the rulers now are the Latins, the name translated into that of a single person becomes “Latinus,” "Lateinos"/Λατεῖνος: λ=30; α=1; τ=300; ε=5; ι=10; ν=50; ο=70; σ=200. Hippolytus may (slightly) prefer this option since he believes Antichrist will reconstitute a Roman-style empire. so that we should neither pronounce that this is really it nor, again, ignore that it might not be able to be reckoned otherwise; since we, who “have the mystery of God in a pure heart” (1 Tim 3:9) faithfully keep, with fear, the things said by the blessed prophets so that we won’t fail to recognize when these things are happening. For when the times arrive and he, about whom these things have been said, will be made manifest and the name will be indicated clearly to all.

Antichrist’s lineage

51. So that we don’t persuade those who labor over God’s sayings from these passages alone, let us demonstrate through other, more fulsome proofs. For Daniel says: “and they will be saved from his hand, Edom and Moab and the rule of the sons of Ammon” (Dan 11:41). For they are also the ones joined together with him through kinship, revealing that he is their king. For Edom are the sons of Esau and Ammon and Moab are the sons who were born from the daughters of Lot, from whom their lineage exists until now. For Isaiah also says: “and they will fly about in foreigners’ boats: plundering the sea together and those from the East, they will cast their hands first against Moab, first the sons of Ammon will obey” (Isa 11:14).

Antichrist glorified as God

52.1. Now this one, once he has been proclaimed by them and has conquered in the field of war the three horns out of the ten horns and having rooted them out—the ones belonging to Egypt and to the Libyans and Ethiopians— once he has taken their arms and spoils, while the seven remaining horns who are left over have been subordinated to him, then he will begin to be exalted in his own mind and puffed up against God, as he rules the entire world. 2. First his violence will be against Tyre and Sidon and territory around them. When he has first plundered these cities he will engender fear in the others, just as Isaiah says: “Be ashamed, Sidon, said the sea; for the might of the sea said: I have not been in labor and I have not born a child, nor have I reared young men nor raised up virgins; whenever it is heard in Egypt, pain will take hold of them concerning Tyre” (Isa 23:4-5).

53. When these things take place like this, dearest one, and the three horns are cut off by him, afterward he will begin to portray himself as God, as Ezekiel foretold: “Because your heart has been exalted you said: I am God” (Ezek 28:2). And Isaiah likewise: “You said in your heart: I shall rise up into heaven, I shall place my throne above the stars of the heaven, I shall be like the Most High. But now you shall be brought down into Death and into the foundation of the earth” (Isa 14:13-15). So too also Ezekiel: “Will you speak and say to those who are destroying you, I am God? But you are a human and not God” (Ezek 28:9).

Antichrist rouses people to persecute the saints

54.1. Now that these passages have demonstrated his tribe and appearance and destruction, and his name has been mystically indicated, let us also look at his activity. For he will summon all the people to him out of all the territory of the diaspora, claiming them as his own, like his own children, announcing to them that he is restoring the territory and raising up their kingdom and temple so that he will be worshiped by them as God, as the prophet says: “He will gather all of his power from the East until the West, those whom he had called and those whom he had not called will go forth with him.” Hippolytus also cites this unknown prophet above in Chapter 15.2. And Jeremiah says this, using a parable for him: “A partridge called out, it gathered those it had not given birth to; making its wealth without judgment, in old age they will leave him behind and he will be foolish at the end of his days” (Jer 17:11 LXX).

55.1. It will do no harm, because of the proposition, also to explain the technique of this animal and that the prophet did not make his point in vain using the parable of the animal. While the Hebrew of Jeremiah has the partridge "hatching" (דָגַל) those to which it did not give birth, in the Septuagint the partridge has "called out to" (ἐφώνησεν) them. Third- and fourth-century sources interpreting this passage, such as the Physiologus, Origen, and Jerome, introduce the idea that partridges steal other birds eggs which then return to their natural parents when they hatch. Hippolytus uniquely has the partridges mimicking the voice of other hatchlings' parents, which better serves his parallel of the Antichrist pretending to be Christ. Now since the partridge is a vain type of animal, when it sees nearby the nest of another partridge having chicks, while their father is off in search of food, it imitates the call of the other one and summons the chicks to him. Since they think he is their own father, they run off to him. 2. So it preens at another’s offspring like its own. But when the real father comes back and cries out with its own call, the chicks recognize it and, abandoning the counterfeit, they go to their real father. Likewise the prophet used this simile when speaking about Antichrist, who will summon humanity to him, wishing to claim another’s as his own, announcing empty liberation to all, unable to save even himself.

56. Once he has collected to himself from everywhere the people who have become disobedient to God, he begins exhorting that the saints be persecuted by them, as if they are their enemies and opponents, just as the evangelist says: “There was a certain judge in a certain city who didn’t fear God and had no respect for person. There was a certain widow in that city who exhorted him, saying: Vindicate me from my opponent. But he did not want to at the time; but later he said to himself: Even if I don’t fear God and respect person, because this widow is bothering me I shall vindicate her” (Luke 18:2-5).

57.1. Now the judge of injustice who doesn’t fear God or respect person indubitably means Antichrist, who is the son of the Devil and vessel of Satan and, when reigning, will also begin to be puffed up against God, truly not fearing God nor respecting the Son of God who is the Judge of all. The widow whom he says was in the city means Jerusalem itself, which is truly a widow, forsaken by her perfect and heavenly bridegroom, who seeks vindication from a mortal human as if harmed by Christ. 2. Calling him her opponent and not savior, not acknowledging what was said by Jeremiah the prophet: “because they rejected the truth at that time a spirit of error will speak to this people and to Jerusalem” (Jer 4:11). And Isaiah likewise: “this people, because they did not wish to drink the water of Siloam which goes forth in peace, but they were drawn back by themselves to Rezin the king of the Assyrians” (Isa 8:6-7). King of the Assyrians is a figure for Antichrist, just as also another prophet says: “And this same peace will come from me when the Assyrian comes upon your land and ascends your hills” (Mic 5:4). 

58.1. And Moses also knows in advance that the people will reject and cast away the true “savior of the world” (John 4:42), that they will join together, in error, to choose an earthly king and that they will set aside a heavenly one; he says: “behold have these things not been gathered alongside me, and have they been sealed in my treasuries? On the day of vindication I shall give in return and in that moment whenever their foot fails” (Deut 32:34-35). 2. They have failed in every way, in nothing have they been found to be in harmony with the truth: not according to the law, because they became transgressors; nor according to the prophets, because they destroyed the prophets themselves; nor according to the voice of the gospels, because they have crucified the savior himself; nor were they persuaded by the apostles, because they persecuted them severely, being at all times plotters and betrayers of the truth, found to be haters of God rather than friends of God; and some, seizing the opportunity, beseech from a mortal man to gain vindication, aroused against those who are enslaved to God. 3. This one, having been puffed up by them, begins to send warrants against the saints to root all of them out everywhere, since they don’t want to venerate him or worship him as God, just as Isaiah says: “Woe, wings of the ships of the earth beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, the one sending into the sea pledges and papyrus letters to a fickle nation and a strange and difficult people: who is beyond him? A nation is hopeful Other editors have "is not hopeful," but Norelli argues against it. and stomped upon” (Isa 18:1-2).

59.1. [Norelli adds from Ethiopic: So what is the nation which hopes and which is stomped upon if not us, because] We, who hope in the Son of God, are persecuted, being stomped upon by faithless and wicked people. The wings of ships are the churches; the sea is the world, in which the Church is tossed about like a ship on the sea but is not destroyed. For she has with her an experienced captain, Christ. She carries in her midst also the trophy against death, as she carries the Lord’s cross with her. Her prow is the East, her stern is the West, her hold is the South, her two rudders are the two Testaments, her rope is stretched like the love of Christ which binds the Church, she carries a reservoir with her like the “bath of regeneration” (Tit 3:5), renewing the faithful. 2. She has a sail bright like the Spirit from heaven, through which the faithful are sealed to God. Iron anchors accompany her, the holy commands of Christ himself which are mighty like iron. She also has sailors to the right and left, as the holy angels are attendants, through whom the church is always held and made secure. A ladder in her leading up to the mast is like an image of the sign of Christ’s suffering, drawing the faithful into a heavenly ascent. Topsails united at the top of the mast are like the ranks of the prophets, martyrs, and apostles resting in the kingdom of Christ.

60.1. Now John also talks about the persecution and affliction from the adversary which is happening to the Church: “And I saw a great and wondrous sign, a woman clothed in the sun, and the moon was beneath her feet and on her head was a crown of twelve stars and being pregnant she cried out, in labor and tortured by giving birth. And the dragon stood opposite the woman who was going to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might consume her offspring. And she gave birth to a male son, who is going to be the shepherd of all the nations. And her offspring was snatched away to God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared for her from God, so that he might nourish her there for one thousand two-hundred and sixty days” (Rev 12:1-6). 2. “And when the dragon saw, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male. And two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman so she might fly into the wilderness where she is nourished for a time and times and a half time from the presence of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth behind the woman a lot of water so that he might cause her to be swept away. And the earth helped the woman and the earth opened up its mouth and drank the river which the dragon cast from its mouth. And the dragon grew angry at the woman and went away to make war with the rest of her seed which was guarding the commandments of God and possessing the witness of Jesus” (Rev 12:13-17).

61.1. Now “the woman clothed in the sun” indicated very obviously the Church, robed in the paternal word brighter than the sun; “moon beneath her feet” means she has been adorned with heavenly glory like the moon; saying “above her head a crown of twelve stars” reveals the twelve apostles, through whom the Church is established. “And being pregnant she cried out, in labor and tortured by giving birth” because the Church never ceases begetting the Word from its heart even when persecuted in the world by the faithless. “And she gave birth,” it says, “to a male son, who is going to be the shepherd of all the nations,” the male and perfect Christ, child of God, God and human, whom the prophets proclaimed, whom the Church, always giving birth, teaches to all the nations. 2. Saying “her offspring was snatched away to God and to his throne” means that he is a heavenly king and not an earthly one, begotten eternally through her, just as David predicted, saying: “The Lord said to my Lord: sit at my right hand, until I set your enemies beneath your feet” (Ps 110:1). It says: “And the dragon saw and he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male. And two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman so she might fly into the wilderness where she is nourished for a time and times and a half time from the presence of the serpent.” 3. These are the same “one thousand two-hundred sixty days,” That is, "time and times and half time" = 3.5 years = 1260 days (counting 360 days per year) = "half-week," i.e., half of seven (years).the half of the week” (Dan 9:27) when the tyrant will rule, persecuting the Church fleeing “from city to city” (Matt 23:34), driven into the desert and into the hills, having with her nothing else but “two wings of the great eagle,” that is faith in Christ Jesus, who when he stretched out his holy hands on the cross unfolded two wings, right and left, summoning all those who believe in him and sheltering them “like a hen with her chicks” (Luke 23:37). For also Malachi says: “and to you who fear my name the sun of righteousness will rise up and healing is in its wings” (Mal 3:20).

62. For the Lord also says: “When you see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place—let the one who reads understand!—then let those who are in Judea flee into the hills, and let the one on his roof not come down to pick up anything from his house, and let the one in the field not turn back to pick up his cloak. Woe to those who are pregnant and nursing in those days. There will be great tribulation at that time, such as there has not been since the beginning of the world nor will there be again: and if those days had not been shortened, no flesh would be saved” (Matt 24:15-22). Daniel says: “And they will grant an abomination of desolation for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. Blessed is the one who endures and arrives at the one thousand three hundred and thirty-fifth day” (Dan 12:11-12).

63.1. The blessed Paul the apostle, writing to the Thessalonians, says: “We ask you, brothers and sisters, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together under him, that you not rashly waver in your opinion or be disturbed, not through spirit or word or letter as though through us, such that the day of the Lord is at hand. Let no one deceive you in any way: unless the apostasy comes first and the sinful person is revealed, the son of destruction, the adversary and the one exalted above every so-called god and object of worship, such that he sits in the temple of God, displaying himself as if he is God. 2. Do you not remember that when I was with you I spoke of these things to you? And now know what holds him back so that he will be revealed in his own time. For already the mystery of transgression is at work, only as long as the one restraining him goes away. And then the transgressor will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy by the breath of his mouth and he will abolish him in the appearance of his coming, he whose coming is according to the operation of Satan, false in every power and in signs and wonders and in every deceit of injustice to those that are dying, because they did not accept the love of truth to save them. And because of this God sends to them the operation of deceit so they will believe in the false one, in order that all who did not believe in the truth but enjoyed injustice might be judged” (2 Thess 2:1-12). Isaiah says: “Let the impious one be taken away so he doesn’t see the Lord’s glory” (Isa 26:10).

Manifestation of the Lord: Conflagration, resurrection, kingdom

64.1. When these things happen, dearest one, and the one week has been divided into two and the “abomination of desolation” has then appeared, and the two prophets and forerunners of the Lord have finished their run and the universe is at last coming into consummation, what else remains but the manifestation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God from the heavens, “in whom we have placed our hope” (2 Cor 1:10)? He will bring down the conflagration and the righteous judgment to all those who did not believe in him. 2. For the Lord says: “When these things begin to happen, stand up and lift up your heads for your destruction is near. (Luke 21:28). “But the hair of your head will not be destroyed” (Luke 21:18). “For just as lightning strikes from the East and appears to the West, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For wherever the corpse is, there will the vultures be gathered” (Matt 24:27-28). The corpse was in Paradise: for there Adam fell when he was deceived. Just as again it says: “Then the Son of Man will send his angels and he will gather up his chosen ones from the four corners of the heaven” (Matt 24:31). 3. And David, predicting the judgment and the manifestation of the Lord, says: “From one peak of the heaven is his going out and his arrival until another peak of heaven, and there is no one who will be concealed from his heat” (Ps 19:7). Heat means the conflagration. Thus Isaiah says: “Walk, my people, come to your chambers, shut your gate, hide for a little while until the wrath of the Lord arrives” (Isa 26:20). Paul likewise: “God’s wrath is revealed from heaven upon every impiety and transgression of humans who restrain the truth of God in injustice” (Rom 1:18).

65.1. About the resurrection and the kingdom of the saints Daniel says: “And many of those in the mound of the earth will be raised up, some for eternal life and others for reproach and eternal shame” (Dan 12:2). Isaiah says: “The dead will be raised up and those in their tombs will be roused up because the dew from you is a cure for them” (Isa 26:19). The Lord says: “Many on that day will hear the voice of the Son of God and when they hear it they will live” (John 5:25). 2. The prophet says: “Awaken, you who sleep, and be roused up from the dead, and Christ will shine upon you” (Eph 5:14). John says: “Blessed and holy is the one who has a portion in the first resurrection; over them the second death has no authority” (Rev 20:6). “For the second death is the lake of fire which burns” (Rev 20:14). And again the Lord says: “When the righteous shine forth like the sun” (Matt 13:43) he appears in his glory. And to the saints he will say: “Come, you who are blessed by my father, receive as your inheritance the kingdom which has been prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt 25:34). 3. What does he say to the lawless ones? “You who have been cursed by me proceed into the eternal fire which my father has prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt 25:41). John says: “Dogs are outside and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters and everyone who loves and creates a lie” because “their portion is in Gehenna of fire” (Rev 22:15). Likewise also Isaiah says: “And they will go out and they will see the cadavers of the people who have transgressed against me; because their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched and they will be on display to all flesh” (Isa 66:24).

66.1. Paul says about the resurrection of the just when he’s writing to the Thessalonians: “We do not want you to be ignorant, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so also God will lead those who have died through Jesus with him. 2. For we say this to you in the word of the Lord that we who are still living at the coming of the Lord shall not precede those who have fallen asleep, because the Lord himself at a signal, in the sound of the archangel and in the trumpet of God, will descend from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise first and then we who are still living shall be lifted up together with them into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and we shall thus always be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:13-17).

67. These things for you, in brief, out of love for the Lord, drawing from the holy Scriptures as from sweet perfumes, and weaving them into a heavenly crown I offer to you, my dearest brother Theophilus, so that, by keeping the writings with faith and by seeing in advance what will be, you might keep yourself from giving offense either to God or to people, “awaiting the blessed hope and manifestation of God and our Savior” (Tit 2:13), at which time, when he raises up the saints, he will rejoice with them, glorifying the Father, in whom is the glory forever. Amen.

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