Hanserd Knollys – Revelation 16 & 17

Rev. 16.2:

The earth in this verse, doth metonymically signify the inhabiters of the Popish earth, the earthly state of the Roman papal kingdom; that is, those inhabiters of the earth against whom the third woe is pronounced, (Re 8:13) especially those that rejoiced at the killing of Christ’s two prophetical witnesses. (Re 11:10) By the noisome and grievous sore that fell upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image, we may understand (by some allusion which this plague fore beareth to that upon the Egyptians, Ex 9:10-11) such a plague as causeth very great pain, and is so noisome and pestilentious, that it maketh those men that are lovers and friends to Babylon, to stand a far off for fear of the torment, Re 18:10-17 which are the proper effects of such noisome and grievous sores. Ps 38:11 77:2

Rev. 16.3:

By sea here, we may understand the see of Rome, the see of Canterbury, the see of York, and all other ecclesiastical, metropolitan, and diocesan sees; especially, the Popes See, etc. In which see of the church of Rome, those kings of the earth, who give their power, strength, and kingdom to the beast, and all Babylon merchants, and ship masters, and as many as trade by sea, and traffic for estates, for slaves, and for souls of men. (Re 18:9-19)


By these mystical rivers and fountains of waters, we may understand the emperors, kings, princes and nobles of the Roman papal kingdom, which give their power and strength to the see of Rome; as the rivers and fountains of waters run into the sea. (Ec 1:7) The great monarchs and kings of the earth are called the heads of their rivers, (Eze 29:3-4 32:2-6) that is, of their mystical waters. And they became blood.

Which plague may bear some allusion unto that plague of Egypt, (Ex 7:20-21) so God will give mystical Babylon blood to drink, for she hath shed the blood of the saints, and of the martyrs of Jesus. {Re 16:6,17:6,18:24 19:2} And the angel of the waters and another angel acknowledged and testified God is just and righteous in judging thus. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, even so Lord God almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.


Rev. 16.8-9:

By the sun here, we are to understand the emperor of Germany, the French King, and the Pope of Rome, who are the great lights in the Roman papal kingdom, who rule the day of the anti-Christian state

Rev. 16.10-11:

By the seat, or throne of the beast, we are to understand the place where the beast hath his chief residence, and where his highest court is kept, and where his holiness’s chair is set, in which the Pope sitteth as the infallible judge; that is, the city of Rome; for there his throne is placed, and his great power, and authority is principally exercised. The effects of this vial or plague are four, first, His kingdom was full of darkness: That is, the beast’s kingdom and dominion, both political and ecclesiastical was greatly eclipsed and clouded. The ruin of Rome will exceedingly darken the grandeur, glory and pomp of the beast. Secondly, And they gnawed their tongues for pain: That is, they that worshipped the beast, or his image, or received his mark; namely, his kings, his cardinals, etc., were tormented and pained with grief, and sorrow, and sores, when they saw that great city burned and utterly destroyed by the righteous judgments of God. (Re 18:7-19) And repented not of their deeds. That is of their idolatries, murders, massacres, persecutions, and worshipping the beast, etc.


Rev. 16.13:

saw three unclean spirits like frogs (croaking frogs) come out of the mouth of the dragon; that old serpent called the devil; and out of the mouth of the beast, (the Pope) and out of the mouth of the false prophet; the papal priests, cardinals, lord bishops, etc.

Rev. 16.16:

into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon; that is, the place of the utter destruction of the Turk’s great army; which the Jews shall so name after they have gotten the victory (which God Almighty will give them) over their enemies, both Turk and Pope; as the people of Israel had over Sisera the chief captain of Jabin and all his mighty host at the waters of Megiddo, (Jud 5:19-31) not a man left. (Jud 4:16)

Rev. 16.17:

The air fills all empty places in the whole universe; and by this mystical air, we may understand all Satan’s kingdom, who is the prince of power of the air, (Eph 2:2) so that the wrath of God poured out of this seventh vial, will diffuse and spread over all the kingdoms of antichrist, Pope and Turk, and all the enemies of God and his people.

Rev. 17.3:

And I saw a woman, the great whore. (Re 17:5) The whore of Rome. (Re 17:15,18)Sit upon a scarlet coloured beast By this beast, we are to understand the Roman papal emperor with seven heads and ten horns

names of blasphemy we may understand those blasphemous words, reproachful speaking and sinful mockings, which the scoffers in these latter days utter and speak against religious persons, religion, the true worship, and worshippers of God, against God himself, Jesus Christ, and his church. (Ro 2:24 Ac 26:11 Tit 2:5 Jas 2:7)

Rev. 17.4:

golden cup in her hand signifies the whores allurements, and enticements of all sorts of persons, kings, people, and nations, unto her superstitious and idolatrous false worship, worshipping images, crucifixes, etc. For this golden cup is full of the abominations and filthinesses of the whores fornication and spiritual whoredoms; wherewith she makes them drunk, as with wine.

Rev. 17.5:

That every one, who observeth, may know the great whore, whom John saw in his vision; she hath her name written upon her forehead, Mystery Babylon the great, etc. By mystery, we are to understand the mystery of iniquity, (2Th 2:3-7) in opposition unto the mystery of Godliness, in the doctrine, worship, and power thereof. Babylon the great that is, the great whore, the Roman Papal Church, and the mother of harlots all national churches, parish churches, cathedral churches, provincial churches, etc., who own, acknowledge, and subject themselves to the ecclesiastical headship of the Roman hierarchy, pope, and papal prelacy, episcopacy, or presbytery. And abominations of the earth that is, all the abominations in the world are nourished and cherished, by the indulgences, pardons, and dispensations of the Pope and Church of Rome.

Rev. 17.9:

Seven kings, that is, seven kingly governments (by succession one after another) of the Roman Empire or fourth kingdom. Namely, first, kings, secondly, consuls, thirdly, decemvers, (decemvirs -a member of any of several permanent boards or special commissions of ten members in ancient Rome) fourthly, tribunes, fifthly, dictators; these five sorts were fallen, that is, past before John’s time;

Rev. 17.12:

The sixth head, the Roman Caesars had ten horns; that is, provinces, and provincial legates, governors under them: But the seventh head, and eighth king of the Roman kingdom hath ten crowned horns; that is, ten kings and kingdoms under his dominion. Which have received no kingdom as yet; that is, in John’s time, before the beast of the seventh head, the Pope of Rome, the eighth king did rise, and came to be king of kings, then they receive power as kings one hour (at the same time) with the beast of the seventh head, the eighth king. See KNOLLYS on “Rev 17:8”

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