And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs
Rome, the seat of antichrist, being destroyed, and the kingdom of the beast darkened, and brought into great contempt, Mahometanism greatly declining, the Gospel succeeding everywhere, the Jews being converted, and resettled in their own land, the devil bestirs himself more than ordinary; and dispatches his, and the emissaries of antichrist, to the kings of the whole earth, that can any ways be engaged on their side, and against the saints; and these are no other than the creatures of antichrist, such as cardinals, priests, and particularly Jesuits, as their original from the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet, show. Mr. Daubuz thinks these "three" are the "monks", the "religious knights", and "secular clergy": and these are called "spirits"; not because they are what are called familiar spirits, or devils themselves, for they are the spirits of devils, as in the next verse; but either because they pretend to be spiritual men, ecclesiastics, men in spiritual offices, and indeed are spiritual wickednesses in high places; or because of their agility, swiftness, and expeditiousness in going to and fro, Satan like, to do mischief: and they are said to be "unclean"; as the evil spirits and devils are, being so by nature, and delighting in uncleanness, and giving themselves up to work it with greediness: and they are "like frogs"; the allusion is to the plague of frogs in Egypt, ( Exodus 8:5 Exodus 8:6 ) and these antichristian emissaries are fitly compared to them, for their impurity, and pleasure they take in it, as frogs do in dirt and filth; and for their being talkative, impudent, and troublesome, like the noisy croaking frogs; so "rhetoricians" are by Cicero F1 compared to frogs; and as the frogs of Egypt got into the king's bedchamber, ( Exodus 8:3 ) ( Psalms 105:30 ) so these get into the private retirements of princes, into their cabinet councils, and stir them up to war and bloodshed: and as for the number, "three", this is only used to express a sufficient number of them, or to make the account square with the dragon, beast, and false prophet, from whom they proceed; and besides, this is omitted in the king's manuscript. Now John saw these, in a visionary way,
come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the
beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet;
by the dragon is meant the devil, ( Revelation 12:9 ) not as acting in Rome Pagan, which has been long ago destroyed, rather as in the Pagan parts of the world, and as in the Turkish empire, now ruined; who, seeing his cause declining everywhere, bestirs himself to support and revive it, though this issues in the binding of him for a thousand years, ( Revelation 20:2 ) . By the beast is meant the first beast, in ( Revelation 13:1 ) and so the Ethiopic version renders it; the antichristian civil state, now sadly shattered and weakened, by the pouring out of the fifth vial: and by "the false prophet" is meant, not Mahomet, or the supporters of his religion, but the second beast in ( Revelation 13:11 Revelation 13:12 Revelation 13:14 Revelation 13:15 ) or the antichristian ecclesiastic state, as appears from the description of this prophet in ( Revelation 19:20 ) compared with that: so then these spirits manifestly appear to be the emissaries of antichrist, under a diabolical influence; his creatures, that are made, and sent forth by him, have their commissions and orders from him, to act for him in every shape, to support his interest, civil and religious, by lies, murders, and false doctrine; a further account is given of them in the next verse.
F1 Ad Atticum, l. 15. Ep. 16.